At a time when grime and its offshoots are moving further into the mainstream than ever before, Leeds seems to lack an institutionalised grime, garage and UK bass event for the considerable amount of fans, especially students, to centre a scene around. Mint Club’s 1Forty night has attempted to fill this gap.
Named after the 140bpm tempo grime is historically made and played at (interestingly rumoured to be because this was the default tempo on production software Fruity Loops), 1Forty has set to try and crystallise its place in the position with its second party. Booking veritable grime veteran Spooky and Rinse FM mainstay Oneman, 1Forty showed their appreciation for the art of the DJ by enlisting two of the selectors most respected for their technical prowess on the decks as well as their selection.
Spooky, playing from 12-1.30, has little regard for the idea of warming up the crowd. He often goes hard from the start, and repeatedly did this at Jamz parties in the past, playing heavy tracks regardless of how full the club is and waiting til the energy brings itself to him. It’s a strange approach, but it ultimately paid off as 45 minutes into his set a full Mint Club were screaming at every reload and forming mosh pits at the front for some of his heavier tracks.
Following Spooky was Oneman, who on his 31st birthday looked like he was certainly enjoying himself. Beginning by resetting the mood with ‘Blinded By The Lights’, he moved through his usual selection of party fare and grime instrumentals. His mixing was still watertight, although some of his selections seemed slightly uninspired and his energy failed to match the ringside atmosphere Spooky had managed to create. While Oneman’s set was perhaps more considered than Spooky’s, the crowd seemed more interested in the high energy aggressiveness of chart-grime and dubstep than hearing its more nuanced left-turns.
This attitude is indicative of a change in the makeup of a grime crowd. For its wilderness years between the post-Dizzee mid-00s to the resurgence of Skepta and Stormzy a couple of years ago, people still flying the flag for grime were often music nerds fascinated by its sonic experimentation, club kids looking for something livelier than house and techno and working-class young adults for whom the music still directly spoke to. Since its recent co-opting by the mainstream, the crowd are looking increasingly white, middle class and male, like in the ‘deep house’ explosion of a few years ago, and seeing a 20 square metre mosh pit get cleared for Solo 45’s ‘Feed ‘Em To The Lions’ really hammered this point home.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, crowds and scenes change all the time, but it will be interesting to see if moving forward 1Forty will try and focus on grime’s undeniable musical brilliance, or the rowdy party atmosphere its music can whip up.