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Is Drum & Bass currently the most exciting genre in Manchester?

I think so.

Post-pandemic clubbing scene was a magical sight to behold. Two whole years of pent up frustration and idle feet, finally allowed to explode back on the dance floors. What made this such an incredible welcome back, was the sheer amount of music that was created and released during the two years of confinement. Songs that had aged multiple years were being played in front of audiences for the first time, igniting excitement around dancefloors with a back catalogue of music we have never seen before.

Chase and Status @ WHP - photo by Dsargent courtesy of WHP

Somewhere amongst the dark months we spent confined to our living rooms, Drum & Bass began to emerge well and truly in the mainstream media via the likes of Tik-Tok and Instagram reels. Teenagers reviewing new releases, soundtracks to some of the year's most viral videos, and the plentiful footage of raves in New Zealand, that millions of UK & European ravers watched with pure jealousy.

Fast forward to the end of summer 2021, when clubs finally got the green light to re-open, a magical bass riddled renaissance began to form. I remember my first rave back was a Hit&Run night. Calibre headlined for an extended 4 hour set. A full exterior sound system was installed especially for the pleasure of hosting drum and bass’ most prolific producer. The first hour was a great selection of deep dub cuts, finely mixed with some down tempo breakbeats. A perfect warm up for what went on to become one of the most special evenings I remember. When the first 174bpm drop finally came in, it was a very surreal experience. It was almost as though all that pent up rage and frustration lifted at once from every single person on the dancefloor. No one particularly screamed or shouted, no cheering or commotion. Instead a wave of calm euphoria flowed across the dancefloor. Every single face bellowed a huge grin, dancing in unison with their friends and D&B family. A truly surreal experience after the past two years.

Within the past year, the entire scene seems to have exploded. With roughly 4 nights a week dedicated to the genre, we are truly spoilt for choice. One particular mention to the guys running the weekly event every Thursday at the Old Abbey Taphouse, a truly grassroots, local event, showcasing the finest in up-and-coming talent Manchester has to offer. Not to mention, just a really cool and fun energy every single time.

Metropolis @ WHP - photo by Dsargent courtesy of WHP

Even The Warehouse Project has begun to open the flood gates and book more Drum & Bass for their goliath event. Treating punters to three separate events (that we know of so far). I was lucky enough to be invited down to the Metropolis event for what turned out to be a huge celebration of all the corners of D&B. Giants like Chase & Status, Kings of The Rollers and Dimension graced the main stage, whilst a selection of old school legends and brand new talent headed up the concourse in a selection of back to backs. The highlight being Friction B2B Camo & Krooked. DJ Friction’s fast paced, double drop-ridden dancefloor action combined beautifully with the more melodic, technical and funky side of the Austrians ‘schnitzel-power’ sound. A full hour long sonic masterclass ensued, dropping classics, brand new VIP’s and unheard remixes. Over in the third room, soon to be legendary Souped Up record label takeover destroyed the dancefloor with their signature jump-up influenced rollers. But what would a Metropolis night be at Warehouse Project without the main man himself Andy C?

What feels more like an annual pilgrimage than a gig, Andy C has never failed to blow the roof off of Manchester. Year in year out, he brings the freshest sounds combined with the technical skill and dexterity on the decks that most couldn’t even dream of. Of maybe the six times I’ve seen Andy C at WHP of the years, this night really was something a little more. Festivals aside, this may have been the largest crowd I’ve ever seen for a D&B show. The room was packed from front to back. A rhythmic pulsation flowing through the crowd as soon as the first beat kicked in. Bumping into old friends, making new ones, all over a shared love of our sound. An atmosphere that you can’t quite capture at any other event.

With so many exciting events coming up in Manchester, now is the time to take the plunge into Drum & Bass. If you can find a ticket, I highly recommend checking out the Worried About Henry night at WHP on the 4th of November. A great introduction for anyone interested in the genre, with a line up varied enough to catch a glimpse into many of the sub-genres that D&B boasts.

Metropolis @ WHP - photo by Dsargent courtesy of WHP

Just don’t blame me when you are addicted.

Coco Varda Music Links
  • Soundcloud
  • Deezer
  • Bandcamp
  • Amazon
  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • Instagram
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