Slammin Vinyl presents
The NEC Arena
New Years Eve 2006
Sunday 31st December 2006

After hosting last years sell out event at the NEC, Slammin Vinyl return back to Birmingham to present NYE 2006 at the prestigious NEC Arena. This years event was to be bigger and better, featuring 1 Nation, Hardcore Heaven and Birmingham’s finest oldskool event Flashback to name a few to host a mammoth multi arena event.

We arrived at the NEC just before 9pm and there was a strong police presence around the venue, with police and sniffer dogs patrolling the car park. Arrived at the box office and was met by the Slammin Vinyl team, the queuing was being done indoors, especially after last years horrendous queue. The queuing system was a massive improvement and was moving swiftly, there were also more search teams thus allowing more people to be searched compared to the last event. After a stringent search from the security we headed straight to the main concert hall.

Having friends in here that had arrived early, I was quickly informed that Topbuzz were playing the first set oldskool set, quickly ran across the entire length of venue to find the Flashback arena. The oldskool arena was a massive improvement in comparison to last year’s Raindance room.

The Flashback room was situated at the back of the Hardcore arena, the arena featured a large stage and quite a number of visuals but with it being so close to the Hardcore arena there was quite lot of sound leakage from there into this arena. This year Flashback were allocated a 2,000 capacity arena a massive improvement compared to last years room.

Topbuzz played a slightly different selection to what I heard from them on Boxing Day, they stuck to a predominantly ‘91-92 set. Jason played classics such as ‘DJ’s take control’, ‘Infiltr-8’, ‘Sounds of Eden’, ‘Sweet harmony’ and ‘Let me be your fantasy’ ruffer remix. The remainder of the set featured a classic jungle selection, with Jason dropping the mighty ‘Helicopter’, ‘Burial’ before finishing off with ‘Terrorist’. Whilst Jason was playing the jungle selection Mad P was immense chatting a raga style with his infamous lyrics.

Following on from the jungle techno kings was the turn of the Flashback duo Mistress Mo and Pilgrim. Pilgrim was up first and opened the set with Chaos and Juliet set’s ‘Atmosphere’ along with Tango and Ratty’s ‘Can’t stop the rush’. I headed for the Main arena which was being hosted by One Nation and was just in time for the legendary Tru Player DJ Hype and MC Fearless.

The main arena was out of this world, the production was spectacular! There with an enormous stage a technological showcase featuring a massive plasma screen above the stage. Dotted around the stage were smaller LCD screens which were counting down to the remaining minutes left in 2006. I was impressed with the massive lighting rig which was illuminating the stage and plenty of lasers cutting into the crowd all backed up by world famous Funktion one sound system.

Hype and Fearless were remarkable getting the party rolling and ready for the all important countdown. Hype was playing plenty of dance floor slammers such as ‘Rockstar, ‘Everyday’ remix, ‘Bell tune’ and ‘Holla’. Hearing Dillinja’s ‘Holla’ on this sound system was immense, as the bass ripple through the crowd. Fearless was entertaining the ravers hyping up the ravers from the front, right to the back which he does naturally, getting people ready for the all mighty countdown. Hype finished his set off with the new ‘Represent’ remix whilst teasing ‘Snap shot’ over it.

It was the final hour of 2006 and to see out the final 60 minutes in the One Nation arena was Metalheadz and drum and bass international legend DJ Goldie. Fearless introduced his set before dashing away for his other bookings leaving the set mc free, thus allowing the music to breathe. The main arena was filling up rapidly as people were getting ready to celebrate the New Year.

Goldie was playing a dark set plenty of rollers which were rumbling dropping ‘Re-dial’, Concord dawns ‘Fly way home’ and ‘Broken eyes’. With 15 minutes left of 2006 I darted back to the Hardcore Heaven arena to see in the New Year.

The Hardcore Heaven arena was located the other side of the NEC and the production was once again impressive. There were plenty of inflatables hanging from the ceiling with a large projector screen and state of the art visuals and lasers. Just a shame the same couldn’t be said for the system as in parts of the arena it was quiet.

Kevin Energy was doing the final hardcore set for 2006 tonight with MC’s Smiley and Casper, Kevin was finishing off 2006 with ‘Raveheart’ remix. This years award winning DJ, Darren Styles and Legendary Sy arrived with MC Storm for the final 5 minutes of 2006 and were ready to for the all important countdown. The LCD screen was counting down the final 10 seconds and Storm got the ravers to count in unison.…...1 Big Ben struck 12 as say goodbye to 2006 and welcomed in 2007.

The stage was lit up with pyrotechnic fireworks which erupted on the strike of 12, synchronously the ravers were littered in confetti which was fired from the cannons on either side of the stage. Ravers were shaking each other hands and hugged each other as they welcomed in the New Year. Storm introduced both Styles and Sy and wished everyone a happy new year. Darren styles welcomed in 2007 with his vocal remix of ‘Sky Diving’.

Styles and Sy were awesome playing an upfront set featuring tracks from both their respective labels Raver Baby and Quosh. There was lots of vocally euphoric tracks, perfect for a midnight set the duo were dropping the likes of ‘Angels’, ‘I say I love you’, ‘Castles in the sky’ remix and ‘Face down ass up’.

Storm was immense throughout the midnight set hyping up the ravers and sending them into sheer euphoria with his lyrics and crowd hype that he possess. Sy and Storm were having a scratching battle throughout the set with Storms vocal scratch complimenting Sy scratching.

Headed off to the 1Nation arena to see the remainder of Andy C and GQ and the crowd were buzzing in here. GQ with his powerful voice had full control and the attention of the crowd whilst he was rolling out his lyrics. Andy C was playing plenty of party tunes such as ‘Drop it down’, ‘True romance’, ‘Hand grenade’ remix and ‘Blood sugar’. In typical Andy C fashion he was pulling off plenty of teases like, ‘Where’s my money?’, ‘Alien girl’, and ‘Planet dust’. Andy finally finished off the set with ‘Rockstar’ and teasing ‘Renegade snares’ over it which sent the capacity arena wild!

Mampi Swift followed on from Andy C but it looked like MC IC3 was running late. Swift true to form was double dropping tunes left, right and centre giving us a hectic set and definitely not for the faint hearted. Swift played a remix of Dillinja’s ‘Who (Oi)’ which went down well along with ‘Style baby’ but when Swift dropped ‘The one’ the dance floor erupted!

I thought I’d have a wander around the venue, at the back of the One Nation arena there was a stadium style tiered seating, to allow people to sit back and watch the madness going down on the dance floor. Not far from here was numerous food and drinks stands selling burgers, pizzas hotdogs to name a few and of course numerous bars.

The Slammin Vinyl stall was located here too selling plenty of tape packs and cd’s from past events all at knocked down prices. There was plenty of merchandise such as jackets, sweaters and hoodies, ideal for those looking for a bargain during the January sales!

After my wander I headed back to the Flashback arena and in time for one of the sets I was looking forward to tonight. It was the turn of the legendary Jumping Jack Frost with Flasback’s resident MC and Birmingham’s very own, MC Lenni. This was a classic jungle set from the two legends with Frost opening up with ‘Lighter’.

Lenni was awesome throughout this set even though the numbers were dwindling in the oldskool room making sure people were dancing and keeping them on their toes. Frost carried on playing ‘Arsonist’, ‘Calling all the people’, ‘Code red’ and ‘Dark stranger’.

At the other end of the NEC and another set I was waiting for, as in the One Nation arena Friction and Eksman were about to start and what a roller coaster of a ride this set was. After their phenomenal set from Westfest in October, Friction and Eksman delivered that same high quality energy and once again.

Friction was dropping lots of big party tunes on this awesome sound system playing ‘Game over’, ‘Too bad’, ‘Get Closer’ remix, ‘Back to your roots’ remix and ‘Dumpling’. The set also featured plenty of tracks from his ‘Next level 2’ album. Friction was pulling off some big teases and double drops through out his set.

Eksman was world class on this mighty stage lyrics flowing left right and centre with the crowd chatting back to him. Eksman was joined briefly by his new breed counter part Fatman D, as they sparred against each and went back to back.

The set went too quick to be honest as stepping up next was Breakbeat Kaos’s DJ Fresh, Fatman D continued to MC for Fresh’s set. Fresh was keeping the vibes rolling playing crowd favourites such as ‘Game over’, ‘X-Project’, ‘Everyday’ and ‘Spaced invader remixes

I decided to head back to the Hardcore Heaven arena for the final two hours Scott Brown and Whizzkid were finishing up in here with Scott playing some gabba as was finishing his set off with ‘Jugganaut’.

Up stepped MC Storm and Re-Con and what a great performance these two put on. Re-Con opened the set with ‘Power of love’ remix and continued to play, ‘Hardore DJ’ remix, ‘1,000 kisses’ and ‘Overload’. Storm was spectacular during this set, hyping up the crowd as he does naturally sending the ravers into a mad frenzy.

Half way through the set Re-Con joined MC Storm on stage and gave a special PA as he sang ‘I’ll be there’ live on stage. Re-Con returned back to the decks and carried on playing ‘Gotta Believe’ remix, ‘Love hits’, ‘Never too late’ before finally finishing this hour with ‘Take me away’ remix.

Final set of the night came from the Award wining Raver Baby boss, DJ Hixxy. Whizzkid MC and Hixxy were greeted by a rapturous reception by the crowd with Hixxy opened ‘Nobody likes the records’. Hixxy carried onto playing ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Keep on trying’ remix and ‘Won’t forget these days’

Whizzkid was working with the ravers getting them to participate with his lyrics whilst bouncing around the stage from left to right. Half way though the set MC Storm took over from Whizzkid MC, Storm with his energetic style of mcing was keeping the ravers on bouncing for the final 30minutes.

For the remainder of Hixxy’s set he carried onto play ‘Heartbeatz’, ‘I’m hardcore and this is what I do’, ‘Heavens above before finally playing ‘I adore’ to finish off tonight’s colossal event at the NEC.

What a grand job that the Slammin Vinyl team have done at the NEC hosting one of the biggest dance events on New Years Eve 2006.

Tonight’s event was a massive improvement on last years as the main complaint from last year was the queuing system. But after the feedback and criticism Slammin Vinyl was able to rectify this problem with a better queuing system and more search tables, as queuing was kept minimal and was all indoors.

Once again the production within the main arena itself was phenomenal pulling out all the stops with a powerful sound system, an enormous main arena stage with an explosive lighting rig. It was just a shame that the sound system in the Hardcore Heaven arena didn’t match this same standard, though the production in here was spot on too. It didn’t help with the sound system being backed onto the Flashback arena as there was sound leakage from both arena arenas.

The artists tonight really pulled out the tops to entertain everyone tonight with some top class performances. I really enjoyed Hype with Fearless, the Midnight set from Darren Styles and Sy, Friction and Eksman and Hixxy’s final set of the night with Storm and Whizzkid.

The atmosphere was 2nd to none plenty of party vibes as everyone was up for it tonight being New Years Eve. It was great to return back to the NEC a great venue the main arena is amazing, allowing you to experience the concert vibe with the tiered seating and the sheer colossal size. Even though there were 10,000 people here tonight the way the venue is laid out there wasn’t really much congestion going in and out of arenas and exploring the venue.

The Slammin Vinyl team has been working extremely hard this year pulling off some great events in 2006, such as Westfest 06, Tranz-Mission the Hardcore Heaven Weekender to name a few . Especially after the negative publicity they received from the first NEC event this has seemed to not have fazed them. This has speared the team onto hosting bigger, bolder and better events. As they’ve improving each and every event, things can only get better!

Happy new year and see you all in 2007!!!

Massive shout to Grant, Michael, Darren and the Slammin Team, Lenni and Jo, Storm, Whizzkid, Fearless, Mad P, Eksman, Hixxy, Mistress Mo and Pilgrim Hazard and Escape, Sy, Styles, Re-Con, Unknown, Ben, Katie, Sam and the Up the Cut Crew, Friction, , Garry K, Presha, Ripper and the Accelerated Crew, Andy C, Hype, Dougal, GQ, Robbie Dee, Goldie, Swift, IC3, Fatman D, Ratty and Tango, Livelee, Wotsee, Joey Riot, Caspar, Smiley, Kev Energy, Brisk, Scott Brown, MK One, Boogieman and Estee.

Big respects to Lisa Jo and Phil, Ed, Lozzy, Andy Legs, Danny Smithers, Mat KoR, Izzy and the Welsh crew, Emma, Mike and Anna, Kat and Chelsea, Caddy, Sharl, Roony, Jenny Juicy, Scott Womble and the Shrewsbury crew, Wookie, Jen, Powertoolz and Emma, Mark, Urban Troopers, Phil and the Cov Crew, John McGuiness, Andrea, Rudeboy Rob, Ciaraa, Kate, Kel and the Lowestoft girls, Gareth and Ronni, Lucy Lu, Kate and Foggy, Damo and Hatty, Sketchy, Midas, Lloydy, Lana, Kev Pikey and Laura, James and Charlie, Adam Timeless and Kieran, Mark Mervin, Brian BK and Amy and to everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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