Altitude @ SkyLab, Minke, Adelaide (06/09/02)

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I have a reputation for disliking dnb. I don’t HATE it, but I think most of the new stuff is too hard and repetitive and well, boring. I think that too many DJs play the same stuff and it all sounds the same. Maybe I’m just showing my age! However, I’m pretty open minded, and when the opportunity to review Altitude at it’s new home of Minke’s Skylab came up, I jumped at the chance. I missed previous shows, but heard rumours of “intelligent drum’n’bass” being played there, and some of my favourite DJs were on the bill, so I thought “what the heck!”

The crowd wasn’t huge but there was a nice and intimate vibe and they certainly were up for it. I arrived after the ITM party and I was astonished to see a fair amount of people boogieing down to Mark 7 at around midnight. He played a set that was much harder than what I was expecting for an “intelligent” drum’n’bass show, but there were no complaints from the crowd. DJ Fiction followed him up extremely well, steadily bringing the pace back a few notches, but holding the dance floor well. I was very pleasantly surprised not to hear the same tunes repeated, again proving to me that Adelaide dnb DJs are not to be underestimated.

Then Motive came on. WOW! The stuff he played was the stuff this jaded raver realises he loves – nice, boppy feel, kinda funky and jazzy, but not so much as to make you fall asleep. Stuff you can get you up and shake your ass to on the floor or just sit back and nod ya head to. His mixing was very smooth, and it was good to hear tunes that don’t get much play here in a “prime-time” spot.

Through all this the one and only MC Grif accompanied the DJs. This guy is, in Miss Ribbon’s words, “a machine”. He was up there busting rhymes the whole time, hyping the crowd, a true performer!

The sound was pretty good… although it sounded like they forgot to switch something on, and half way through fictions’ set it got decidedly better. Not louder – crisper and fuller – and my ears weren’t ringing for days afterwards. The live visuals were a nice touch, but they were obscured in the most part, which I thought was a real pity because there were some very interesting things going on up there on that screen.

This night made me realise that Adelaide is a little spoilt for dnb. We’ve got the finest local DJs and MCs, and promoters who bring over the best acts from interstate and overseas and who are willing to do something a little different every now and then. I guess I’ve been taking it for granted, and needed a quality night to show me just how good dnb can be, and Altitude was it!

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