11th November 2000 

@ the Sanctuary, Milton Keynes

slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) I checked my calendar, I checked my watch, I even asked a bloke I met in the street and, yes, it was November 11th, and, yes, it was Slammin Vinyl at the Sanctuary time! Well, this rave was to be my first at this historic hardcore venue, and I don't reckon it'll be my last. I paid my ridiculously high train fare (for a return ticket I only used in a barrier once - I even got a lift home at the end - d'oh!) and arrived in Euston in time to meet up with a few of the USH crew. After a particularly tasty Chicken Club Royale Meal thingy (BK much better than McD's innit) and a quick natter to Kev, Dimi, Androo, Ali, Fussion, Nik and Potfish we made our way onto the early train to Bletchley. Others joined the train along the 
journey and a brisk walk along the picturesque winding country roads of Milton Keynes through the six-foot mud (!) later we arrived at the venue to be greeted by a rather large queue. And it was only 8:30!!! Bloomin'eck, I almost felt guilty to be in the guest list - almost! Seriously though, apparently the queuing system and lack of searches for the majority was really bad. For the safety of ravers, Slammin, please sort this out. I realise that it takes time to get people through the door - but something must be done. Just as I uttered the words ""ell, at least it's not raining" it started to drizzle a bit - but the queue started to move, and we were in minutes later.
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) I ran to the cloakroom, and dumped my coat in there - little did I know that this was one of the very rare occasions when there would be less than a few hundred people queuing for the cloakroom, more on that later! Then it was off to the Sanctuary to see what all the fuss was about. My god, I really thought that I had stepped into a little bit of heaven! I reckon it's true though - there are two sorts of ravers, those who like the big raves, and those who prefer the smaller events. I fully appreciate that lots of people don't like the lack of intimacy at the larger events - but I have to say that I loved the Sanctuary just as much as I love the smaller venues!!
The production was quite simply one of the best I have ever experienced 
(except the main tent at that Gatecrasher out door-thingy) - I did have a 
couple of gripes though. The lighting most of the night was amazing - 
superb effects, loads of colours and things. I would ask one thing though - 
turn the blooming strobes off!!!! Or, at least don't have them on all night! I really had to turn my back on the stage at some points cos they were doing my head in. Laser was pretty nice though - I was well mesmerized 
by that for most of the night.

The stage construction thing was very nice - lots of room for the dancers 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) to do their funky stuff (ooo, especially the one in the blue bikini - I was 
well mesmerized by her for most of the night too!) and the MCs to strut 
about. The video screens behind the stage were also cool - for some reason I wanted them to play Hellraiser III like they did at Future Dance, that would have made me chuckle. My other main gripe about the production though was the sound. The sound started off very clear, but too too soft. At one point at the start I had this niggling feeling that it just didn't seem like a proper rave - then I realised that it was because I was having a proper conversation, hearing every word the other person was saying, right at the front - that can't be right!! And so it continued, right 
until a couple of hours later they turned the sound up - which was nice, but then it went a bit fuzzy. Oh well, it wasn't that bad I suppose.

God, I'm making out that it wasn't that good, aren't I? Well, honestly it 
was WICKED!! I just thought I might as well give the whole story, just in 
case Slammin are reading this, cos really a rave their size, and as the 
trend-setters for the whole scene, their raves shouldn't just be "good", 
they should be "perfect"!

Hahaha, I normally do quite a long intro before I get onto the DJs, but this 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) just takes the piss, doesn't it? Right, without further ado - the DJs...

Energy - I was honoured to be one of about 7 who actually caught a 
reasonable part of his set! I feel well bad for those outside who missed 
this - cos it was a blinder! Playing some wicked hard freeform stuff - 
loads of new tunes apparently - he had me and my six mates bopping like mad men. By the end of his set though the place was beginning to fill up 
nicely, just in time for another DJ who really really deserved to be later 
on in the night too. Another quick note to Slammin if they're reading this 
- for gawd's sake if you're going to put hardhouse in the main arena, why 
bother putting the cream of the hardcore scene at stupid times like Energy 
and DNA were? I'd have quite happily listened to a bit of hardhouse as 
warm-up for the hardcore - not the other way round!

Anyway, back to DNA. Top bloke he is - he's getting so much deserved 
recognition in the hardcore scene at the moment - but still not enough!! 
His set was absolutely fantabuloso (it was so good I had to invent a word to describe it)! I almost cried when Torn Souls came on - thank you Morgz! 
Right about now, the funk soul brother - top top stuff!!! The whole place 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) was rocking like I've never seen it before. But why, oh why was MC Smiley on the microphone? Has this bloke got any MCing talent at all? Er, let me think. NO! It makes me so mad when people like that get on the microphone (another quick note to Slammin, ask anyone, MC Smiley is poo). Nearly spoiled DNA's set - thank god the microphone wasn't very loud, that's all I say!

Um, um, um - memory starting to fail at this point. Yeah, that's right, DJ 
Sarge up on the decks. First tune came on... and.... hard house. Bah, oh 
well I though, I'll give it a go. I'm not one to prejudge music. And to be 
quite honest, after getting used to moving my legs that little bit slower I 
was really starting to get into the music. There was this little thought 
though that was in my mind, and that was - SPEED IT UP! There seemed to be quite a few other ravers who thought this too - grumblings amongst those I spoke to told me that.

First time in the Sanctuary, so I asked directions to the Old Skool room 
("up those stairs that you're just standing by" I was told hehe). To be 
honest I'd never experienced one of those sprung floors like they have at 
the Olympic gymnastics before - but it was well funny to dance on. Nicky 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) Blackmarket was on the decks, and the thing that struck me was that this 
music was the same speed at the hardhouse but quite honestly I enjoyed it so much more. Some really nice tunes were played - a bit of a change for me as I never normally dance to old skool at raves.

12am came, and it was time for the USH meetup. I made my way outside and met up with loads of familiar faces, quite a few new ones too (you'll have to write your names down, cos it's taken me nearly a year to remember Kev's name heh)! A quick chuckle at people flinging themselves off a crane with only a rubber-band as support later I made 
my way back to the Sanctuary. Or at least I tried to, as did a few hundred others - only to be met with closed doors! Hmm. So I turned back and chatted to more people before finally going back just in time for the end of Mark EG's set. Lovely bloke, nice music - but it's NOT HARDCORE is it?

Hahaha, the funfair. God, I really don't know at what point in the night 
this happened - but when Kev came up to me saying "fancy a go on that 
funfair ride?" it really did seem a good idea. All those lights, all those 
happy people, not a streak of vomit in sight - I was well up for it. So, 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) Kev, Ponder and I got into the ride and it was time to start. What a time 
for me to come up eh? Or not. It was one of those evil rides which whizzed you in the air, span you round, turned you up and down, pulled out your stomach, opened up your head, and really generally fucked you up. It seemed to last for hours. Hahahaha - a really not particularly pleasant mixture of utter ecstasy and pure unadulterated terror. Ask Ponder or Kev - I was in such a state afterwards. I am quite proud to say that I didn't actually vomit though - but by all accounts I went a particularly pale shade of white! It took me about half an hour to learn how to walk again, but after that I was ready to enter the hardcore arena 

Brisk was up next and another fast, furious and seamless set! This bloke is 
really doing it for hardcore - wicked set absolutely loved it!! The MCs 
were all on absolutely top form on the night too: Whizzkid and Storm were superb for the hardcore; Odyssey worked really well for Energy's set and the hardhouse; Charlie B seemed a bit, er, Charlie Bish I suppose; and Smiley was pants. It was really nice seeing them all enjoying themselves so much - it must be such a buzz being back at the large raves after such a long time for them.
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) Hixxy - such a genuinely nice bloke!!!! I've heard him play a couple of 
times now - but they've always been older sets - this was the first time 
I've heard him play his new stuff. I have to say that I absolutely loved 
it! Some really stomping tunes - blending uplifting vocals, trancey bits, 
banging drums, lovely synths and MC Storms lyrics - lovely mate, lovely! 
Storm introduced the ravers to the first tune from Hixxy's new label - Raver Baby - and I, like the thousands of ravers packing out the Sanctuary, were in heaven.

Next up on the decks was Sy. Hmm, I really haven't been *tooo* 
impressed with Sy's sets of late - this was slightly up on the average, some nice new Quosh tuneage (I think). One thing you can't take away from this man is the show that he puts on with Storm. The scratching was sooo nice - I was amazed! Vibes was amusing in the Old Skool room too - Ponder, Happy Bounce, Luke, Steve and I was mosh-pitting it up to the cheesey sounds of Cloudy Daze and Cold as Ice - I think I even saw Ponder singing along at some points!

Time for the last set of the night (hmm, it definitely seemed to be a lot 
earlier that it was - maybe another point for Slammin... make it longer, 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) Milton Keynes is north of Watford, but it isn't that far north - we need 
longer opening hours!) and it was time for Scooot Brooon. Another top 
quality bloke - playing some really really nice hard stuff. 100% respect to 
this DJ, again and again he produces sets and tunes of the utmost high 

I thought, "heh, I'll be clever and avoid the queues for the cloakroom and 
get there half an hour before the end". There must have been a few thousand clever people there that night, cos strangely thousands of people thought the same as me. Absolutely the worst cloakroom I've ever seen - 
ever. And that includes the one I saw where the cloakroom was just a big fire and they burnt everyone's coats. At least for that one there wasn't much of a queue. Mere words cannot explain how atrociously run this was. Hold on? The cloakroom was "run"? Nah, it couldn't have been - if it had been "run" then it wouldn't have taken about 5 minutes to find every coat, if it had been "run" then it wouldn't have taken hours for people to queue for their coats, if it had been "run" then surely there would have been a logical system for hanging the coats up. This is a serious note to Slammin (not that the others haven't been) - sort the cloakroom out lads - BIG STYLE!!
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) Now, a very, very serious point to end the review on. One word, Birkenhead. Now, if you've never experienced these "things" then you honestly won't understand what I'm going on about. I know that before I came into contact with these "entities" I really didn't understand what the fuss was all about. These "creatures", these "vile beings" are scum. They are sub-humans. They are "evil manifestations" in vaguely human shells. Now, I don't mean that all people from Birkenhead are like this, I'm only using the word to describe those people from Birkenhead that attended Slammin Vinyl. They are fuck-ups. You looked into their eyes and there was no life there. There was no spark of intelligence. They barged into 
everyone on the dance floor. They gave their attitude, they bottled, punched and mugged the innocent. I really, honestly do not understand them. I don't understand why they can't just buy a shaver and fucking shave off their awful bum-fluff moustaches. I don't understand why they are let in - half of them looked under 16 anyway. Why, Slammin Vinyl, WHY? They are there for the sole reason of causing trouble, swilling their Red Strip and snorting their coke. They are not there for hardcore. I want to see security removing them, I want to see security not letting them in in the first place - ROAR - use it! 
There's less than 50 of them - it's not as if you're losing much revenue 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) by not stocking tickets in Birkenhead is it?

Now, I feel guilty about ending the review on a low point, as it really does 
give a bad impression of an absolutely blinding night! Personally I seemed 
to avoid the bad points some people experienced. I had no trouble with the Birkenhead - except getting pushed about a bit on the dance floor near the start - but too many people did. I didn't have to queue much - but too many did.

As I said at the start - Slammin Vinyl is a trend-setter - people will look 
to them as the biggest rave in the Hardcore scene for inspiration. Slammin 
Vinyl can't just be "good" they need to be "perfect". Perfection should 
always be their goal. I really reckon they took a good step there on this 
night - but it sadly fell quite a way short in many people's eyes. Sort a 
couple of things out and you are looking at a rather good rave! Just 
quickly I'll list them for Slammin's benefit...

1) Lineup - respect for keeping it fresh, and booking DJs who really care 
for the scene - but NYE - what's going on? Where's DNA for feck's sake? 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) This is one of the main reasons why I, and many others are choosing 
Raindance over Slammin Vinyl at New Year. And please, listen to the ravers, - keep hardcore hardcore! House has its place - but surely not in the main arena at a Hardcore rave! Scrap the garage and replace it with House and Techno.

2) Birkenhead - I implore you to do all you can to remove these scum from hardcore.

3) Cloakroom - sort it out - very very quickly please. People were not 
impressed - and it can't be that difficult to do can it?

4) Queue - really a bit silly - surely something can be done to rectify 

5) Opening hours - make it longer please.

Now, Slammin Vinyl, if you are reading this, please don't take it the wrong way... I'm not trying to be negative at all. I'm here to hopefully speak for lots of ravers out there who were slightly less that satisfied with 
slamminvinyl11-11-00.jpg (102625 bytes) a night that should have been so much better. I'd really like it if you 
emailed me back with a reply to this.

Massive huge shouts and hugs to: Kev, Mupster, Twigg, Fangs, Nix, Potfish, SiMonDMA, Sophie, Barking Boy, BeckiBoo, Jexxy (you're oh so sexy), Slammin Sam, Miss Go Mental, Fussion (Velocity), Acidnik, Androooo, Nic, Dan and everyone else I met with you, Chedda, Stix, Icekold, Billy Bass, Dan and Joe Haynes, Alister, Carl, Morgz and Jam, Gordon, James, Kev Energy, Richard Raindance, Tony Resonance, Johnny Go Mental, Cakes, Charmy, Alieeeson, Steve (Smil-E), Matt, Michael and all the others from Slammin, Brisk, Hixxy, Happy Bounce, Ponder, Luke, Crissy, Steve, Jamie, Peter, Emma, Caine, Mad Man, Denno, Danny, Tom, SD, all the DJs, all the MCs, everyone I met, 
everyone I didn't meet!

Tom Bennett / DJ U4EA