The Xmas Party
Cusatrd Factory
Saturday 20th December 2008

After a massive 14 year wait we welcome back Starlight. For those who don’t know Starlight is one of the original rave promoters to put on parties in Birmingham having staged some legendary events at both the Handsworth & Aston Villa Leisure centre. Starlight was also the first to bring the likes of Fabio & Grooverider, Sasha, Moby and The Prodigy at an all nighter in Birmingham back in the early 90’s.

Spearheading Starlight today is oldskool legend and Birmingham’s very own MC Lenni. The line-up tonight was more jungle with a splash of ’92 hardcore added with two massive live PA’s for good measure

Headed down to the Custard Factory and was greeted with a swift moving queue after a brief search from the security team I headed straight for the pool and what hit me straight away was the production in the Marquee.

I was rather impressed with the production as there were numerous day glow murals that were dotted around inside here which glowed under the UV light. The front of the stage was littered with numerous speakers added with two massive projector screens added with the classic oldskool green laser.

I arrived and Glen Aston had just finished off in here as he was closing off with ‘Valley of the shadows long dark remix’. Broken Minds very own DJ Phase 2 continued where Glen had left off. The pool was starting to fill up nicely at this point whilst Phase 2 dropped some darkside 93 riddems such as ‘Dark stranger’, ‘Johnny’, ‘Breakage #4 (I bring you the future)’, and ‘Scottie’

Stepping up was midlands veteran Simon Bassline Smith, who rewound the clock back to 91 with a more bleepy influenced for the first half of his set. Simon dropped some wicked tunes rather impressed with hiss selection with the likes of ‘Night in motion’, ‘Made in two minutes’,’ The Vamp’ and ‘The Surgery’

The pool was filling up to capacity at this point as Lenni stepped up on the mic and made sure the Christmas party was under way. Simon flipped the switch as he stepped up the years as he began to play ‘Living in darkness’, ‘Horn track’, ‘Tribute’ and ‘Some justice’.

Time for the live PA from Reinforced records very own Nebula II. MC Terraform joined Nebula II who was armed with his laptop to perform a live PA featuring a number of tracks that has shaped today’s dance music.

Nebula II opened up with a special VIP of ‘Anthema’ especially for the Starlight crowd and continued to play ‘Seance’, ‘Antheama remix’, ‘Flatliners’ before closing off with the original mix of ‘Antheama’

“Introducing to the world the man called Micky Finn” yep that’s right time for the AWOL legends Micky Finn and Daren Jay and what an entrance the pair made. Micky and Darren played a jungle classics set with lots of crowd favourites including ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Roll on’, ‘Special Treat’, ‘Music box’ and ‘Champion DJ’.

Who other to host this set no other than Birmingham legends Lenni and Bassman, the pair were tearing down sparring off each other throughout Ranski joined the duo hyping up the crowd to ensure everyone was making enough noise.

Micky and Darren upped the tempo as they went for a more 96-97 direction for the latter part of their set as they dropped ‘Dirty chopper’, ‘Quest’, ‘2 Degrees’ and ‘Peace love and Unity’

2nd PA of the night was from Jilted Generation a tribute band to the rave legends that are The Prodigy. The Jilted generation are a live band complete with a full drum kit, keyboards and guitar something totally different fro the raving masses.

A lot of the old Prodigy classics were being played including ‘Breathe’, ‘No good(start the dance’ and ‘Charly’. Really enjoy watching the Jilted Generation the performance was something else as the band were quite eccentric and full of energy just like the Prodigy.

After the live performance from the Jilted Generation it was the turn of two of the AWOL legends that are Kenny Ken and Randall. The legendary duo were performing a two hour special taking the crowd on a journey through drum and bass.

Randall And Kenny Ken were going back right to ‘93 reliving those tunes that were played at the infamous paradise club. Randall and Kenny opened up with the Body snatch classic ’Just 4 U London’ and continued to play ‘You got me burning up’, ‘Darkage’ and ‘Renegade Snares’ and ‘Spiritual aura’

Ranski and Spyda were doing the mic duties for the first hour of this history lesson in drum and bass. Ranski ensured the crowd were kept hyped up whilst Spyda delivered the lyrics the ragga chat over the oldskool classics. Randall and Kenny Ken upped the years and started to drop a number of jungle classics including ‘It’s the way VIP’, ‘Intelligent woman’, ‘Must feel’ and ‘Babylon’.

Skibadee took the mic duties for the last hour of this set and made an fantastic entrance as he stepped up on the mic rolling his lyrics over ‘papa lover’. Skibadee hyped up the crowd ensuring no-one was left stranding still using his full lyrical dictionary.

The tunage that Randall and Kenny Ken were dropping in the final hour was immense as they steered clear of the typical anthems and went for classics such as ‘Runnins’ ‘Step on’, ‘Definition’, ‘The Box Re-Opened’ and ‘Dark soldier’

To close the night off was the midlands oldskool master DJ Pilgrim. Pilgrim continued where Kenny Ken and Randall had left off as he started off with a drum and bass selection playing ‘Chopper’ remix , ‘Warp ten(rocky)’ and ‘Snowman (Walking in the Air)’.

Lenni closed off the party for those who soldiered into the early hours of Sunday morning. Pilgrim was showcasing a few of the new J-Tek releases within his set as he played ‘ Tales from the darkside’, ‘Stop!’ and ‘We are I.E.’ before closing off with ‘Dreamfinder’ and ‘Atmosphere’ whilst Lenni had a little dabble on the mixer before the security sent everyone home.

Tonight’s turnout was fantastic with each arena being busy throughout the night, what I did notice that there was a very mature crowd out tonight with a number of old faces that had dusted their old raving shoes to kick off the festive season. The production was spot on in the Marquee the sound system was nice and crisp

What stood out for me was that the artists did not stick to the typical anthems all night as there was quite a lot of crate digging going on tonight. Simon Bassline Smith along with Kenny Ken and Randall really stood out for me playing a lot of my favourites that I’ve not heard out in a very long time. Though what really stood out was Skibadee it’s quite rare for him to do an oldskool drum and bass set these days and it was also the first time that I’ve heard him over a retro set and he really did deliver the goods.

Well what a return Starlight had made tonight at the Custard Factory they may have been away for 14 years but still has that aura within Birmingham’s oldskool circles.

Big shouts to Lenni & Jo, Sarah, Walton, Benz and the Starlight Crew, Pilgrim , Glen Aston, Ranski, Micky Finn, Kenny Ken, Randall, Spyda, Bassman, Fivealive, Phase 2, G-Child, Alpha, Biggie, Bassline Smith, Dangerous D, Barrington, Jay Tee, Dutch-E, Justify and the DNBmidlands crew, Jilted Generation crew, Nebula II, Skitty, Hods, Spencer, Colette & Sarah, Gem & Manny, Stanza, Opiate, Rapid, Taz B, Shelly, Reena, Shaka, Trackin, JoJo, PM, Nutcracka, Nursa, Lisa, Tom Horton, Michelle, TNT, Foggy, Cabbie, Noize, Andy Stringa, Kez and everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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