Highrise now forms such an elemental part of Leeds’ clubbing landscape that it is rather hard to believe it didn’t exist before November 2012. In the 5 years since, it has amassed a powerful reputation as an event regularly filling Beaverworks with a premium blend of urban, underground bass and soundsystem music. The night was always going to be a great celebration, and it had the stellar line up to match.
It could certainly be argued that you would be hard-pressed to find a club night where DJ Marky, Calibre and LTJ Bukem have ever played together; let alone in the same room one after another. These are 3 men who have all headlined Highrise individually, and who all represent different sub genres and Eras of drum and bass. This was delightfully apparent over the course of the night in the back room, as DJ Marky masterfully blended his own samba-infused, funky productions, like the amped up VIP remix of ‘Silly’ in and out of gritty jump up tracks from Serum and Hazard. The crowd was simultaneously grooving then gun-fingering, all infected by the vivacious Brazilians wickedly entertaining and eclectic style of DJing.
Then, Calibre predictably lowered the intensity, deftly stringing together a slew of meaningful liquid that contrasted effectively with DRS’ punchy MCing. His tune ‘No One Gets You’ might seem too poignant or delicate for a club environment, but its subtlety filled the room with sound in a way that only a Calibre song could.
LTJ Bukem followed with a similarly masterful performance, where his unique 25+ year connection to the genre was immediately evident. His soulful combination of clattering breaks, imaginative mixing and jazzy melodies all combined to create a flawless, energizing closing set.
Those strong willed enough to tear themselves from the main room at any point certainly had reasons to do so. Commodo’s pumping dubstep in the Basement, the exclusive grimey b2b between Spooky and Grandmixxer with Killa P, or Dubkasm’s unique combination of dub and a live saxophone were all excellent alternatives. Like every Highrise before it, whilst individual acts stand out, it was actually the breadth and depth of night’s offerings that made it worthy of the hype.
Image credits: HighRise