The NEC Arena
New Years Eve 2008
Wednesday 31st December 2008
Tonight Slammin Vinyl headed to the heart of the country to present
their end of year finale at the prestigious NEC. This has now
become an annual fixture in the raving calendar since its first
fixture back in 2005. The venue is able to hold over 15,000 party
minded party people under one roof with 3 massive arenas of Hardcore
- Drum and Bass and Hard Dance making tonight one of the biggest
underground New Years Eve parties of 2008!
The NEC is an ideal location for party of this magnitude as it
is located in the middle of the country and is easily accessible
on all the major motorway routes. We got to the venue shortly
before 10 and parked up in the patrolled car park. Having parked
up we headed straight for the box office and joined the queue,
queuing didn't take too long and once again was being done inside
away from the elements. After a thorough search from the security
we found our friends and headed straight for the massive hardcore
Slammin vinyl and their production team totally went to town
as they transformed the NEC into a nocturnal mini festival. The
layout was completely different to my previous visit back in 2006.
Taking the main stage inside the NEC arena was HTID vs Hardcore
heaven this arena was really breath taking and shows how massive
hardcore's following has become in the last few years.
Walked straight into the Hardcore arena and could hear a remix
of the hardcore classic 'Take me away' blaring out from this colossal
The production was truly breathtaking inside the hardcore arena
a technological showcase, as there where 9 massive LED panels
that lit up the stage added with a further LED panel that covered
the front of the dj box too which was counting down right through
to 2009. The NEC arena would normally stage various concerts throughout
the year that's what I felt like being in here tonight.
The main arena was filling up rather nicely during whilst Re-Con
ensured the ravers where bouncing throughout his set as he laid
down tracks such as 'Cut & Recycle' '1 2 3 4', 'Dance' and
'All I wanna do', 'Tell me'. Whizzkid was rocking the crowd complementing
Re-Cons bouncy style with his beatboxing before Re-Cn closed off
Final set of 2008 came from the Quosh Records duo of Chris Unknown
and MC Storm. Good to see Unknown playing a momentous set of 20008
showcasing many of the big tunes from the past year along with
the production work from the Quosh label including 'Rise again',
'Clit commander', 'Don't leave me now' and 'Burning love'.
Storm was fantastic ensuring the crowd were all hyped up throughout
the final hour of 2008 as rocked the crowd into a mad frenzy.
Unknown continued to play 'come running', 'Sure feels good to
me', 'Only for you' and 'Now you're gone' remix.
For the end of year finale Chris unknown played Daren Styles
awrd winning 'Flashlight' which was voted the best track of 2008
.Storm called for everyone to find their friends and close ones
as he prepared for the countdown.
It had reached 23:59:90 Storm, Whizzkid and the 10,000 ravers
inside the NEC arena counted out the final 10 seconds of 2008
and welcomed in 2009
The main arena exploded and was ignited by an array of pyrotechnic
firework whilst the crowd was littered with confetti bombs with
the laser that cut through the crowd. Whizkzid and Gammer performed
the first hardcore set of 2009 with Gammer opening up with his
award winning track of 2008 'Let it shine' remix.
There was a good buzz throughout the crowd during this set with
everyone feeling rather euphoric and Gammer complimented this
with tracks such as 'Take me away', ' 1,2,3,4' , 'Why does my
heart' and 'Horns of Jericho'
Mid way through the set I headed over to the Drum and bass arena
to catch the remainder of Ganja records head honcho DJ Hype who
had just performed the midnight set.
The Drum and Bass arena was hosted by One Nation and Random Concept
and I was quite surprised to see how small this arena was compared
to previous years as the drum and bass arena had been scaled down.
There was a large stage at the front of the arena with a massive
lighting rig that covered the DJ box along with a number of large
speaker stacks either side of the stage.
The atmosphere in here was quite electric at this point, with
the ravers having just celebrated the New Year. IC3 ensured the
ravers were kept buzzing with his lyrics whilst hyping up the
crowd. Hype was rocking the drum and bass junglists with a very
upfront front as he was dropping current crowd favourites such
as 'Can you feel it ?', 'Machete', 'World of hurt' and 'Oi (Who)'
and 'Mr Happy'
After this set I headed over to the oldskool arena to find Random
Concept trio of Garry K Dollar and Presha performing in here.
The Oldskool arena was small but there was quite rather intimate
vibe in here.
Garry K and Dollar was playing amixture of recent drum and bass
favourites along with jungle classics as they dropped 'Dual voltage',
'Watchin' windows', 'Ding dong bass' and 'Valley of the Shadows'.
New year eve is notorius for the amount of events being on and
it was lookin like that marc smith was running extremely late
in the oldskool arena so I headed back to the Hardcore arena in
time for Squad-E and MC Storm.
Squad-E's selection was spot on with lots vocally stuff from
Raver Baby being played including 'Doesn't Matter', 'Cut &
Recycle' 'Feel like I feel' and 'Tricky Disco'. Storm was rocking
the crowd in the early hours of 2009 taking full advantage of
this massive stage whilst keeping the ravers on their toes.
Midway though the set I headed back over to the drum and bass
arena and caught the Shogun Assassin DJ Friction. This was one
of the sets that I was really looking forward to tonight and the
pair did not disappoint at all.
Friction opened up the set with Original Sin's monster anthem
'Dr Feel good and proceeded to play 'Can you feel it', 'One finger
test', 'Clear skyz, and 'Pulp Ficiton' Eksman accompanied Friction
these two are a formidable force on the drum and bass circuit
a great dj and mc team of recent times.
Eksman rocked the crowd in here hyping them up with his lyrics
ensuring no-one was left standing still. This was complimented
with Friction hi-octane mixing as he was double dropping and teasing
numerous tunes throughout using the mixer to it full potential
Friction continued to roll out with 'In love' , 'Be true', 'Mr
Happy' 'Overfiend' before closing off with 'Planet dust'.
Over in the Hardcore arena hardcore legend DJ Dougal was playing
the penultimate set of the night. As expected he was playing a
very uplifting and euphoric set which kept the crowd bouncing
as he was dropping 'First serve', 'When I close my eyes', 'Phase
2 Phase', 'Through the Darkness' and '1 2 3 4'.
From one legend to another as over in the drum and bass room
closing off the arena was the hardest working dj on the scene
Nicky Blackmarket. Nivcky opened up with a remix of a drum and
bass classic 'Turn on the heat' which went down really well in
The black tarantula aka mc Spyda was doing the mic duties in
here toasting the music with his ragga chat that works well with
drum and bass especially when nicky dropped the ragga jungle classic
from Congo Natty 'Code Red'. Nicky ensured no-one was left standing
still for the final 60 minutes as he laid the slammers including
'Muzik', 'Offline, 'One finger test' and 'D is for danger'.
Midway through the set we decided to call it a day and go home.
What a night from the Slammin Vinyl team down at the NEC arena
in Birmingham an impressive show to say the least.
The NEC event itself now being in its 4th year is a complete
former shadow to the first event back in 2005 especially with
the dramatic change mainly with regards to the queuing system
which once was rather notorious with people having to wait a good
hour or 2 where as tonight waits were rather minimal.
With the various arenas spaced quite far apart from each other
there was no sound leakage from each of the different arenas that
have plagued the NEC in the past. These things have really improved
over the years making the NEC a very enjoyable night out.
As always the artists were putting on a fantastic show across
the various arenas Friction and Eksman was one of my favourite
sets of the night along with Re-Con and Storm and the midnight
set from Gammer and Whizzkid.
The production was rather remarkable as I was well impressed
with the Hardcore arena as this was rather mind blowing, the sound
system in here was top notch too! All night the hardcore arena
was ram jammed showing how much hardcore has come along over the
past few years with a following that constantly keeps growing
each and every year.
From walking into the NEC there was a really electric atmosphere
that buzzed from arena to arena that could be felt all night.
The ravers were all out in force tonight ensuring that 2008 was
given a great send off, here's to 2009!
Massive shouts to Grant, Michael Darren and the Slammin Crew,
Storm, Whizzkid, Eksman, Friction, IC3, Hype, Spyda, Nicky Blackmarket,
Garry K, Presha, Ripper and the Random Concept Crew, Re-Con, Gammer,
Chris Unknown, Marc Smith, Wotsee, Static, Enemy, Casper, DJ Andy,
Kurt, Biggie, Ric at the Night Times Shaun, Jules, Lisa and Phil,
Sallie, Lozzy, Scottie B, Matt KotR, Sarah, Emma, Lloydy, Ben
and Sam, Nelza, Alpha, Foggy, Izzy, Mitch and Gem, Clodhopper,
JB-C, Damo, Hatty, D-Ice, Sketchy, Saz, Alana, Phill Noize B,
Jade & Vizzy, Amy, Vawny, Anna, Emily, Phil Friciton, Graham
& Psychosis, Sippy, Emma, Powertoolz and everyone else whose
names I don't' know but faces I recognise
Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'