Teaming up with DJ Mag for a livestream, Garage Splash put together a lineup of big names within UKG alongside their well respected residents – it would have been silly not to go to down to Work Bar and experience it all for free.
Garage nights in London generally consist of similar lineups of DJs from back in the genre’s heyday, playing music as old as the youngest people in the club. Garage Splash however have a different idea; they put on regular, free events with UKG’s current top dons, up and comers and the odd old school head on the lineup, drawing crowds of up to 2000 people.
On August 3rd, Garage Splash were invited to take over DJ Mag’s livestream setup at Work Bar in Angel, and co-founder Junior Buzz called in good friends (and residents) NoFaking DJs and Smokey Bubblin’ B as well as UKG don DJ Cartier and current king of garage, Mind of a Dragon, with Loskiboy and MC Uno on hosting duties for the night.
When we arrived and walked down the steps into the basement of Work Bar, our first thought was how busy it was already – the room wasn’t full yet, but to see so many people already there at 7pm on a Thursday night, for a night focused on new Garage and UK Bass music was very encouraging and highlighted straight away the support Garage Splash receive.
Kicking things off were NoFaking DJs and they weren’t messing about, creating instant vibes and setting pace for the rest of the night with tunes from the likes of TQD and Killjoy blended with grime acapellas and the occasional classic. It took 23 minutes for the first reload of the night – GUNDAMN’s ‘Pulse Ü’ edit, with another highlight being El-B’s wobbly ‘Neighbourhood’ remix. Even a recurring emergency loop problem wasn’t enough to stress the NoFaking boys as they effortlessly traversed through garage to the broader UK Bass spectrum and back again, and by the time they handed the decks over to Cartier, the dancefloor was bubbling nicely.
“The best thing about Garage Splash is that there’s no restrictions; old or new UKG, it’s wicked vibes from start to finish. Big shouts to Junior Buzz and the gang”
– DJ Cartier
DJ Cartier opened with his name ringing through the speakers, before cutting and chopping his way across a selection of the biggest current UKG tracks. Like NoFaking before him, Cartier also explored a bit further than garage, bringing UK Funky and Bassline into the mix and also touching on Grime with one of the highlights of the set being a dub of Donae’O’s ‘Black’ switched into Nativ’s ‘Shifty’. As expected, Cartier was not only technically on point but his tune selection was brilliant and he had everyone inside eating out the palm of his hand; near enough every track that teased it’s way in was met with cheers, resulting in a fair few pull ups.
“It’s all vibes; new school or old school, every DJ plays what they want. With Garage Splash there’s no drama.”
– Mind of a Dragon
Stepping up next was Mind of a Dragon who, in our opinion, played the best set of the night. Working between cuts from his new album, past productions and collaborations and forthcoming releases such as the glorious Lemonade, it was easy to see why he’s the top producer in Garage at the moment; every single track was weighted perfectly with kicks and subs, but with clever vocals and flourishes of keys and other instrumentation. It has been said before that producers who are at the top of their game don’t really cut it as DJs – that it’s a ‘one or the other’ trade off of skills – but thats not true of MOAD. The set felt like an experience, rather than a a string of tracks mixed together; an hour long glance into Mind of a Dragon as a producer and DJ with some proper goosebump-inducing moments, such as the beautiful ‘Untitled m8”s intro being played pretty much in full before being allowed to drop. It’s the first set we’ve seen where an artist plays 100% of their own productions, and it was incredible.
Smokey Bubblin’ B opened up with his huge track ‘License’, released on NM Recordings last year, before weaving through a selection of his own grime tinged productions (including his slick edit of Novelist’s ‘One Sec’), UKG classics and UK Funky, touching on broader UK Bass too with tracks like Tessela’s Hackney Parrot. Champion and MC Shantie’s ‘Running It Red’ got arguably the biggest reload of the night as Smokey kept the dancefloor full and energy high ahead of the last set.
Garage Splash co-founder Junior Buzz stepped up to the decks for the closing set, starting with TC4’s ‘Savage’ and proceeded to roll through new music from some of the UK’s most exciting up and comers, including new cuts from Arridim and Witchdoctor. A mash up of Royal T’s ‘I Know You Want Me’ with Ms Dynamites ‘What You Talking About’ got a huge reaction, and was rightfully pulled up. By the time it was over, it was clear that Junior Buzz leads from the front with Garage Splash’s music policy.
Overall, Garage Splash got their message heard loud and clear – they’re all about championing as much new music as possible with a focus on UKG but ultimately the end goal is good vibes, from old school garage to Bassline.
It’s obvious talking to the artists who have worked with Garage Splash that they’re trying to build a family of resident DJs with the same attitude towards creating a vibe, whilst at the same time welcoming new talent to the scene.
DJ Redhot, who was there on the night, summed it up:
“Garage Splash is introducing the younger crowd to what UKG is. I’d like to think UKG has gone a bit more ‘overground’ over the last 12 months and Garage Splash has helped by incorporating old and new music with a bias towards the new. If you’re talking about raves within London, Garage Splash is the best regular UKG rave right now’
You can watch the livestream from the night below:
Garage Splash will be taking place on the following dates:
01/09 – Record Label Launch – Lightbox
15/09 – Fire
13/10- Fire & Lightbox
26/10 – Garage Splash Live – Work Bar