M*A*D*E makes its Birmingham debut

!(feature_l)http://relayer.s3.amazonaws.com/articles/spreads/53694ff0b30f9e000200072b.jpg!The first Metropolitan Arts & Dance Event in Birmingham, aka M*A*D*E, kicked off over the May Bank Holiday Weekend with Chase & Status, Annie Mac and and Steve Lawler getting behind the decks. Spread across indoor and outdoor areas in Digbeth including the Rainbow Venues, with the backing of the GlobalGathering Group, it also included the regional heat of the British Street Food Awards. We were there on Saturday, May 3rd for UKF Live in the daytime open air arena and Spectrum in The Textiles Factory by night to see what M*A*D*E 2014 had to offer.

A gloriously sunny Saturday meant there was perfect weather to follow up the British Street Food Awards the previous day. The rays seemed to have energised the crowd who were in an excitable mood all afternoon. LFM and Mali of the Speedy Sonics got the music started in The Arena – an enclosed outdoor space with a viaduct looming high to one side and an impressive stage kitted out with LED screens, lighting arrays and oxygen cannons. At the back of the event space was an assortment of food offerings, while B-Chilled had set up an area for those needing a break from the drum and bass.

The middle of The Arena was a huge throng of movement as the crowd jumped up, got their hands in the air and generally skanked around to the thunderous soundsystem. Kove, Breakage, Dimension provided the early sets after the Speedy Sonics pair with Kove dropping Double 99’s “RIP Groove” to wild cheers and blast from the oxygen cannons. The dancefloor was pumping and the bars were busy, however the one overlooked factor at M*A*D*E was the number of toilets – the queue for the portaloos was at least 20 minutes, not help by a lack of urinals. But the revellers got on with things and were loving the deeper sounds of Camo & Krooked ahead of Netsky and a headline set from Chase & Status taking the music up to 11pm. Sadly Sub Focus had to cancel at the last minute, meaning Netsky and Camo & Krooked played extended sets.

The highlight of the two room, all-night party was a peak-time set from masked mash-up man Jaguar Skills who threw every genre at the crowd.

For the afterparty, the action moved to The Textiles Factory round the corner from 10pm to 6am as Spectrum took control. The highlight of the two room, all-night party was a peak-time set from masked mash-up man Jaguar Skills who threw every genre at the crowd. Smashing “Bittersweet Symphony” into Pendulum, then Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” into Candi Staton’s “You’ve Got the Love”, there was no guessing where the musical direction would go next. “Jump Around”, “Insomnia”, “Sandstorm” – it was like hearing a snapshot of all your clubnights in one set. Fittingly, Jaguar Skills had old skool beat ‘em up game graphics on during his set, emphasising the retro aspect of his music and going wild behind the decks.

While the production in the main room was once again impressive, the momentum Jaguar Skills had built up saw a downturn in tempo as Meridian Dan took to the stage. The north London grime artist scored a top 20 hit with “German Whip”, however his set at M*A*D*E seemed to come at the wrong time as the dancefloor didn’t seem too interested and headed for more drum and bass in room two, though the die hard fans crammed down the front to show their appreciation. We left the action with Major Look pitching the tempo up again, but there was no doubt M*A*D*E had left its mark on Birmingham’s music scene in one of its clubbing epicentres.

The following day Annie Mac, MK, Redlight were among the acts who played The Arena hosted by 2:31 in the daytime while the night was given to Viva Warriors and FACE with Steve Lawler, Mathis Tanzmann, The Martinez Brothers and Hot Since 82. There’s a lot of potential for M*A*D*E – the enthusiasm from those attending combined with a lively line-up plus the outside and warehouse spaces created an urban festival that seemed incredibly well received, and nicely set up for a return in 2015.

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