Slammin’ Vinyl presents
31st December 2005
NEC Arena

In 2005 Slammin Vinyl have pulled out all the stops, since the closure of the legendry Sanctuary in Milton Keynes. Slammin Vinyl along with 1Nation and Hardcore Heaven they have taken the ravers to new venues such as the Alexandra palace in London, the Carling academy in both Bristol and Liverpool and also to the stomping ground of the legendry Dreamscape at the Bath and West showground in Shepton mallet. On New Years Eve 2005 Slammin Vinyl in conjunction with 1Nation, Hardcore Heaven, and many more hosted New Years 2005 at the NEC arena in Birmingham

We arrived at the venue just before 9 and the security pointed us to the car park, car parking was only £7 which wasn’t too bad as its security patrolled and floodlit. Following the mass ravers we arrived at the NEC and we were greeted by a colossus queue which was moving slowly but was massive!

I was having flashbacks to Slammin Vinyl at the Sanctuary a few years back (2003) again New Years Eve. Luckily we had reservations and missed the massive queue outside, which was also patrolled by local police and sniffer dogs. Once inside there were two queues one for guest list and of course the standard queue.

Again the standard queue was snaking across the entrance of the indoor complex, similar to that was used at Shepton mallet, I was quite concerned with so many people queuing outside that will they make it into the venue before midnight?

Once at the front of the queue we were given a thorough search as the security team was very tight tonight, which involved people having to take there shoes off during their search.

WOW the production inside the venue was astounding Slammin Vinyl did pull all the stops tonight. Once inside the dance arenas we was greeted by some crazy characters including some guys who had video screens for faces and some aliens from the Alien movie.

First stop was the Hardcore Heaven arena, this was where most of the other arenas were located. The DJ box was located at the back of the arena with curtain draping separating itself from the hard house arena. The production was spot on with massive plasma screens and an illuminating green laser lighting up the whole arena.

DJ’s D-Ice and Reality were on warming up the crowd along with MC Odyssey on mic duty. The crowd were definitely up for it in here and it was just before 10 o’clock. D-Ice and Reality played a remix of Paul Elstaks ’Luv u more’ along with ‘Hardcore extreme’ to get the party bubbling.

Next stop was the main arena featuring the mighty 1Nation along with the Funktion One sound system. The production in here was breath taking the sound system was spot on. At the front of the arena was the DJ box with a stage for the MC’s, with speaker stacks either side pumping out the bass. Above the DJ box were gigantic plasma screens along with a timer to the all mighty countdown. At the back of the arena was raised seating so people could chill out, listen to the music and enjoy the view.

Simon Bassline Smith was finishing up with MC Eksman I was quite surprised that Eksman was on so early. V recordings legend Bryan gee was on with MC Shabba. This was an awesome set from the G man playing a set littered with dub plates, Bryan played a bootleg featuring Lil Kim’s ‘Lighters up’ which went down well along with ‘Xfactor and remix of Adam F’s ‘Circles’.

After Bryan Gee it was the turn of Formations and oldskool legend DJ SS featuring MC Fearless on mic duty for the final hour of 2005. In true fashion DJ SS started the set with a new remix of ‘Lighter’. Fearless was awesome on the mic for the final hour hyping up the crowd into 2006, SS continued to play ‘Black Tarantula’, ‘Everyday’, Creeper’ and Dubplate killah’

Yep it was 23:59:50 and Fearless begun the 10 second countdown with GQ…1 Happy new year!!!

Andy C dropped ‘Blood Sugar’ as GQ welcomed 2006, the countdown was awesome and the atmosphere was electric. Pyrotechnic fireworks exploded at midnight and massive confetti canons exploded littering the crowd as it turned 2006.

I didn’t hang around for the beginning of Andy C’s set as I hurried of to the Hardcore Heaven arena to catch DJ’s Sy and Scott brown perform a special back to bak set. MC Storm was on the mic but I noticed that the mic was ripped in two and he was using it as a skipping rope. Sy was playing ‘Inspiration’ and ‘See the light’ where Scott played ‘This is how we do it’. The atmosphere in here was electric with it being the midnight set lots of people wishing each other happy new year, but with the mic not working I decided to catch the tail end of Andy C.

Andy C had GQ along with Biggie MCing for his set and they were doing an amazing set GQ was immense his presence and voice was powerful. It was great to see biggie MCing too representing Birmingham and especially on the midnight set too! Andy was playing his typical set with double drops and teases, Andy played ‘Still in love’, ‘Ask not VIP’, ‘Xray’, ‘Nosher’ and ‘Ready for love’.

After Andy C it was the turn of Charge Recordings Mampi Swift it’s been along time since I’ve seen Mampi play, the last being in the summer. Mampi didn’t disappoint, Biggie continued to MC for his set keeping the crowd going. In true fashion Mampi played a hectic set fast paced and not for the faint hearted. Swift started with ‘The Vault’, 'Papua new guinea' remix, ‘Dubplate Killah’ also teasing in ‘Dubplate’ Swift also dropped my favourite tune of the year ‘Style baby’.

Near the end of his set MC Choppa D arrived to MC with Biggie at this point I decided to have a wander around this colossal venue. Inside the main foyer separating the main arena from the rest of the arenas were merchandise stalls selling food and drink. There was plenty of hot food available including pizzas, burgers and hotdogs. Unlike previous Slammin events they weren’t using a tokens system for drink which did save plenty of time and also spending unnecessary money too. Drinks were reasonably priced as it was £3 for a bottle of Carlsberg which isn’t too bad, there was also champagne available too. There was a massive merchandise stall located here tonight selling plenty of cut priced tape and CD packs from past events, for those on the hunt for a bargain.

Back to the hardcore room to catch the back end of Dougal’s set, after Dougal it was Essential Platinum DJ Gammer along with MC Smiley. I enjoyed Gammer’s set a good variation of tunes as he played ‘Cry’, ’On and On’,’ Drop Zone’, ’Ready for core’ and ‘21st century rush’ featuring MC Storm. Originally Brisk was meant to have been on but was running late, Brisk was stuck in traffic as he had played at both Moondance and HTID earlier. Brisk did finally arrive but I headed back to the 1Nation room halfway through DJ Friction’s set.

This year Friction has really impressed especially after his set from Westfest back in October, Friction was accompanied by SP MC. As I arrived he was playing a few oldskool beats , I could hear Andy C’s‘Truly one’ on my way to the arena. This sounded amazing on the Funktion One system, the system did the arena proud tonight. Friction carried on playing ‘The Burial’ remix along with ‘X-Ray’, ‘We want your soul’, ‘It’s jazzy’ and ‘Warhead remix’.

Brockie was suppose to be on next he was running a bit late and was accompanied by MC’s Det and Skibadee it was also DJ Brockie’s birthday too many happy returns. Det and Skibadee were awesome on stage really enjoyed them MCing back to back, Brockie did play the new ‘System test’ remix which did rumble the system!!!! I didn’t hang around too much for the rest of Brockie’s set as Raver Baby’s DJ Breeze was on in the Hardcore Heaven arena.

Breeze had MC Storm MCing for this set and Storm was truly magnificent having been disappointed earlier when I arrived at midnight to find that mic was broke in half. Breeze was playing plenty of upfront new material from the raver baby label along woith some updated remixes of a few classics. Breeze played an updated version of ‘Connections’ featuring MC Marley along with, ‘Pull over’, ‘Your shining’, ’Getting better’ and I got a feeling’. It was unfortunate that during this set someone collapsed, Storm along with the security team were spot on and rushed the person straight away to carry out medical assistance.

Penultimate set of the night was from DJ Seduction, Seduction played plenty of stuff from his Maximum Impact label along with the ‘Let me be your fantasy’ remix. Since Hixxy’s return from Australia Hixxy has been unwell with his shoulder and found out that he wouldn’t be playing the final hour with DJ Styles, so we decided to call it a night and headed home.

Job well done to Slammin Vinyl for hosting New years at the NEC the only thing that let them down was the queue system.

Though in fairness queuing has been a major problem with events hosted at the NEC itself. As when Gatecrasher hosted an event at the NEC many people complained about queuing back then as the NEC employs its own security team. I felt that there wasn’t enough search teams, which obviously held up entry time togetting into the arena itself.

The production of the event was spot on especially in the 1Nation arena the system was crisp and loud along with all the visuals. The production in the Hardcore Heaven arena was spot on, I really liked the massive laser lighting up the whole arena, but I was disappointed with the sound system in here. The Hardcore arena was backed onto the hard house room and was only separated by cloth causing the sound to be distorted as it leaked in here and the system did seem to go quiet towards the end of the night.

The atmosphere on the night was immense in both arenas, there was some concern from certain ravers that the Drum and Bass room would be moody and full of attitude this was certainly not the case tonight. This was witness not just by myself but also by many of the hardcore ravers who were venturing in here as I did drag a fair number of my hardcore friends into the drum and bass room, who actually enjoyed themselves in here.

My favourite sets of the night would have to be Breeze especially with Storm MCing as he done an amazing job and I’m torn between Bryan Gee and SS. Bryan’s set was full of forthcoming dubplates which I’m looking forward to hear again. DJ SS was another favourite as it was good to see SS play the final hour of 11-12 seeing as Pendulum weren’t going to show!

It’s going to be unfortunate that people will remember the night for the mammoth queue at the beginning of the night rather than the atmosphere and production that Slammin put on.
I’d love to visit the venue in the near future as the drum and bass room was amazing with that concert feel to the night.

Happy New Year and roll on 2006.

Massive shouts to Michael at Slammin Vinyl, Storm, Fearless, Brisk, Sy, Breeze, Wotsee, GQ, Eksman, Brockie, Seduction, Styles, D-Ice and Reality, Odyssey, Gammer, Biggie and Smiley

Big respects to Shaun, Leanne, Zoë and Collette, Escape and Amy, Alpha, Pete Komplex and AMS (thank you very much guys), Lisa-Jo, Phil, Lisa, Hannah, Mike, Dave Quaver, Andy, Doug, Heather, Bertie, Andy Immz and Lucy, Curly, Matt KOR Andrea, John MCGuiness, Damo and Kelglow, Ciarra, Andy Legs, Jay Nixxy, Phil Friction, Elle, Caddy, Brian BK, Amy, Kev Pikey, Aidan, Overlode and Ecksta-C, Charlie and James, Si and Sam, Andy Trackin also to everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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