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Club Reviews

Chibuku 10th Birthday

Date: Saturday 13th March 2010
Nation, Wolstenholme Square, Off Slater Street, Liverpool, L1 4BX
Occurrence: Annually
Hours: 10pm - 6am
Ticket Price: Early birds £20, NUS £20, Others £23
Genre: Techno, House, Dubstep, D&B
Dress Code: Anything goes
Main Room: Club 75 (Cassius(Zdar & Boombass), Justice (Xavier), Busy P and Dj Medhi djing B2B 6hrs), Luke Carr and Wandy (Classics set)

Courtyard: Adam Beyer, Claude von Stroke, Joris Voorn, Dom Chung

Annexe: Chase and Status with MC Rage, Skream, Mix Master Mike (The Beastie boys), Caspa Futurebound, No Fakin
As I cast an eye over our fair city’s recent cultural regeneration, I found that Liverpool’s progression as a hub for Electronic music has been proportionally aligned with the growing success and popularity of the club night Chibuku. As the club night reaches its Tenth birthday, Chibuku gathered a lot of old friends, and some new ones, to have one massive party. The organisers created a very impressive line up, one that would’ve confused the unknowing, but would’ve captivated those in the know.

The line up effectively documented Chibuku’s progression from electro and house raves to the now familiar sub bass leanings of the dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass genres. The 3000 attendees had one hell of a choice in scheduling where their nights would take them, with all three rooms crammed with colossal DJ talent and some huge names.

Chibuku nights are usually played out at the familiar Masque, formerly the Barfly. However, for this special occasion they upped sticks and headed the short distance to Nation. In the early 90s Nation was home to the UK’s dance music scene as home of the infamous Cream club night. As the early 90’s ‘rave’ scene began its descent into a bottomless pit of drug fuelled recklessness and self inflicted implosion, so too did Cream fall. Continuous police raids lead to a plummeting reputation which forced Cream’s demise into ‘Superstar DJ’ no man’s land. In the ‘Naughties’ (whoever thought of that... why?) Nation has undergone its own regression. It is now Liverpool’s foremost contractor of high capacity nights in Liverpool, from Indie nights such as the SoundCity, pop tours such as Calvin Harris and of course the debauchery of nights such as Chibuku. Nation is once again coming back in to its own - in this new decade recycled popular music and artists, Nation stands tall as a venue for all and is surely one of the best hosts of memorable night that Britain contains.

Despite all the British tradition and pedigree installed in the venue, there was a distinctly foreign look to the line up for the Courtyard and Main Room’s (incidentally taking up nearly 4/5s of the venue’s floor space)

The organisers decided to fill the Main Room with six hours from high end electro from the very French super group Club 75. Supposedly created in Paris 5 years ago, Club 75 is made up of DJ Medhi, (one half of) Justice, Cassius and Busy P. Their set was a journey into the unexpected; the concept of four DJs playing back 2 back paid off fantastically, with a sense of one-upmanship leading to a great set.

Over in The Courtyard, one of America’s foremost minimal purveyors, Claude Von Stroke, played to a jubilant crowd. His strictly minimal set was a fresh change from the unpredictable nature of Club 75; the American producer came in hard with tracks such as Monster Island and Who’s Afraid of Detroit, plunging the crowd into wild hysteria. With Von Stroke being joined in The Courtyard by Dutchman Joris Voorn and the Swede Adam Beyer, you began to wonder whether this celebration of a very British club night was descending into a continental affair.

However, in the lowly Annexe, fitting a mere 700 happy people very snugly, the Brits were coming! This room was colloquially titled as ‘The Dubstep and Drum n Bass’ room. Despite its comparatively small capacity, the most forward thinking and diverse music was being held in there.

The Annexe was begun in earnest by Mix Master Mike. The DJ extraordinaire has been The Beastie Boys’ resident DJ since co-producing their seminal album Hello Nasty in 1998. Anyone who has had the pleasure of watching DJ Shadow’s fantastic ‘On Tune and On Time’ DVD would have recognised the live video feed showing what Mix Master was up to – despite not being an original idea, it was most certainly effective. His attempts at MC’ing along to his music, however, were rather disastrous. “Hello England!” does not constitute a heartfelt and personal introduction.

Caspa, accompanied by the brilliantly enigmatic Rod Azlan on MC duties, followed Mix Master Mike. The increasingly sweaty, smelly and skanky crowd were treated to cuts from Caspa’s sole LP, Everybody’s Talking, No one Listening, as well as familiar dubstep anthems from Doctor P, Bassline Smith and Joy Orbison. Caspa only played for an hour, but in that short time he laid foundations for a heavy night of debauchery and basslines in the miniscule Annexe.

As we toured the large Nation venue, we asked around attendees as to whom they were there to attend. Truthfully, I would estimate that around 75% of the people we asked said they were there to see Chase & Status. The news that they would not be fulfilling their headline slot due to a mysterious ‘car crash’ would not have gone well with the hordes of fans that flooded the Annexe with the anticipation of greeting their heroes. To be honest, I’ve seen Chase and Status at nights across the country, and they really weren’t missing out. The dubstep-d’n’b duo have toured the country for many years now and with their forthcoming second LP seem destined for the shit heap of mainstream electro-rock-d’n’b that Pendulum have been consigned to since releasing In Silico.

Big respect must be given to Futurebound for extending his set a further hour to fill Chase & Status’ absence. His forward thinking drum and bass antics were more than enough to replace what the crowd were missing out on.

After two hours of very loud crashing high hats and cymbals, it was down to Dubstep co-founder Skream to conclude the night in style. His two hour set was an amalgamation showcasing all of his influences; Jungle, DnB, dubstep, Hip Hop, whatever you wanted, you would find here. Particular mention must go to his remix of Donaeo’s Riot Music which he started his set with. Quite simply, tune. Despite the fact that the crowd was witnessing by far the highlight of the night, I must be condescending in condemning the large numbers that fled during Skream’s set, seemingly frightened by the prospect of the rapidly approaching daylight. I must say that those people missed out on the best set of the night. Skream played until well after 6am, finishing with new album highlight Listening To The Records On My Wall to finally bring the house down on an absolutely fantastic and brilliant evening, night and early morning.

With their tenth birthday Chibuku have out mastered themselves - Bido Lito! thoroughly encourages them to continue to grow and succeed in Liverpool for the next decade and beyond. However, next time guys, don’t dump all good stuff in the smallest room, ok?
Venue: 8/10
Music: 9/10
Crowd: 8/10
Sound System: 8/10
Total: 33/40

Rating: Silver Award
Review written by: David Al Hilali
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