It wasn’t always like this. Flocks of people didn’t always descend on little old Loughborough from far-away towns on Thursday evenings for a midweek Midlands shindig, nor did the superstar DJs that now sit prominently on the town’s posters. Such is the nature of DBE’s growth, you’d be hard-pressed to find a member of the Midlands’ underground music scene that is unfamiliar with the name. In fact, ask anyone that’s been to a DBE night about it and in return you will receive an endearing, reminiscent smile, insinuative of cherished memories.
Refusing to stand still, DBE has travelled the world, specifically to Malta and Croatia, with a faithful cohort closely following in their wake. Days of partying ashore the Adriatic sea are in the not-too-distant future for the DBE crew, and with March’s bash crowned as an official Hideout Festival warmup party, it would be strange not to be tempted to book a flight out there.
Final sips on the hip flask before heading out, and Loughborough Students’ Union was chock-a-block early doors as last entry stood firmly at 23:23. One could be forgiven for the assumption that a students’ union may lack personality, but next-level production – imported lighting, visuals and soundsystems – ensured the whole building was abundant with character.
A diverse lineup spread across three packed rooms catered for Loughborough’s sophisticated palate on a night filled with frenzied fun. Each room possessed vivid, distinctive complexion. Fusion presented DJ Haus & Doorly with big, shiny disco balls, and Room 1 became DJ Craze‘s bass-heavy arena; while Cogz embodied a dark canvas from which Mella Dee could paint the picture.
We embarked on the first step of our journey in Room 1 to witness some turntablist wizardry from longstanding resident Samiad, who very much set the tone for three-time DMC world champion DJ Craze. The American sorcerer superseded and produced a valuable lesson in the dark arts, scratching and chopping his way through the various peaks of his set. However, we couldn’t stay for the duration as that would mean missing Doorly, who is in fact a DBE regular. A truly characteristic set followed, complete with random, tripped-out breakdowns to complement the techy tones that reverberated around Fusion.
A short trek downstairs into Cogz proved fruitful, making our way through a room of engaged heads to be greeted by a succession of ravey, hand-raising delights. Replete with melodic piano hooks, seasoned with an Italo-house flavour – it was unmistakably Mella Dee. ‘Massimo’ pulsated around the room amidst a set within which an undeniably old-skool backdrop supplemented a bright, bursting soundscape.
The Cogz mob’s appetite had been whetted, and boy were they satiated by the time Abstraction finished with them. With a much lower ceiling and less extravagant lighting, Cogz provided an intimate alternative to the rest of the union building, and this wasn’t Abstraction’s first foray into its depths, the techno maestro being a long-established friend of the night. How so appropriate that at 3:03, in signature style, Abstraction happened to be shelling out a heavy artillery acid pelter, uncompromising in all its glory, before the ‘The Bells’ rained down.
We ventured upstairs into a bustling Fusion to stumble upon DJ Haus causing serious damage. In our favourite set of the night, the Unknown To The Unknown & Hot Haus Records boss delivered an unwaveringly heavyweight serving of bass-infused records, presumably many of them unreleased. The London-based producer had the Fusion crowd in the palm of his hands, responsive and engaged, as the diversity of his collection became evident. He admittedly had us scrambling for Shazam on various occasions, not that it came up trumps.
Head honcho Pasquale took the reins and had one foot firmly rooted in acid territory. It was explicitly clear that each and every soul in the room was locked in, developing an almost collective refusal to budge from their spots on the dancefloor. We couldn’t settle for that! Forcing our way into the middle of the pack, euphoria ensued as the ‘Tweekin Acid Funk’ mix of ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ reached its climax. As the night came to a close, joy emanated from the plenteous beaming smiles that left the building, desperate in their endeavours for the party to go on…
DBE looks after its own and it shows – local students are at the crux of the operation, supplying artwork and promotion amongst other favours, and are rewarded with exclusive parties, world-class DJs and a special place within a vibrant, close-knit community. As the night wore on it became increasingly apparent as to why DBE is so popular with those that have experienced it the world over.
Not resting on their laurels, DBE continue to throw consistently high quality parties whilst maintaining an element of compelling unpredictability, whether that be through playing at secret location parties, hosting stages at festivals or announcing heavyweight guests at the eleventh hour.
With further Loughborough dates to come, as well as cameos at Hideout Festival, Parklife Festival, weekly terrace parties and a continued London residency at XOYO, there are no signs of slowing down from the DBE fam. There is a glowing future in store for DBE, go and experience it. You will feel right at home.
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