Detonate Festival 2016: Review
Colwick Park Nottingham
June 4th 2016
After a run of six amazing festivals that were held indoors from 2006–2012 that saw performances from everyone from the RZA, Diplo and Annie Mac to Goldie, Roots Manva and Skream, the Detonate festival moved outdoors with huge success in 2014 and the event has gotten even bigger over the last couple of years. It is with a huge anticipation that we attended this years event and as we arrived fairly early to the magnificent setting of Colwick Park, the crowd was already swelling with up for it ravers and with five stages (Main Stage, Big Top, The Pontoon, The Lakeside and The Woodland) featuring everything from reggae, drum & bass and grime to house, hip hop and dubstep there was something for everyone here.
The first act we saw at the festival was Detonate mainman Transit Mafia in The Big Top who, despite the early timeslot, was smashing the growing crowd with a knowing selection of energetic D&B rollers that set the tone for the day nicely. A quick trip past the main stage saw Manchesters Levelz crew taking things as only they know how before heading to The Woodland stage for the Deep Medi takeover which you know is going to be heavyweight bass session featuring the genres finest
Arriving at the stage, Notts own Congi was tearing things down with the crowd skanking enthusiastically to the bass he was bringing and he was quickly followed by the don that is Mala. The Digital Mystikz man brought the fire to Detonate in the heaviest way possible dropping classics aplenty from the DMZ stable and beyond and the audience definitely responded in kind. The energy and intensity in the tent was palapable with each tune getting heavier as they were played and by the time Mala dropped Leng by Killa P followed by the Bug & Riko Dans Iceman, it was game over and the crowds intense reaction mirrored that and as Mala left the stage to a heroes welcome, it was clear that everyone had witnessed a set that bordered on classic status.
Following Mala was no easy task but grime royalty Sir Spyro took it all in his stride by cranking out the high energy grime that he is known for before it was a trip down to the Lakeside Stage to witness another cracking performance from Casisdead who flanked as usual by his Dead Team crew treated the fairly small but definitely hyped crowd (a crowd that grew as he was playing mind you) to a set packed full of the macabre rhymes and punchlines that he is making himself a name for. An expected guest appearance from Giggs on What’s My Name didn’t materialise (which seemed a bit strange as he was playing later) but Casisdead is such a strong performer on his own that nobody watching seemed to bother and just enjoyed the rappers distinctive flow and energy laden show. Another great performance from one of the UKs most talented and one that saw him make many new fans in Notts.
After Casisdead it was back to The Woodland where Kahn & Neek followed by Commodo continued the deepness and heaviness to Detonate in the heaving tent that saw everyone there getting involved and losing themselves to the bassweight. Having never seen either of them before, they were highly anticipated and neither disappointed in the slightest. Another airing of Iceman in Commodos set brought the house down once again, that tune is too heavy especially on a decent system, as it was here!
A quick jaunt to the main stage saw the end of Big Narsties set that can only be described as energetic and saw him dominate the crowd in his own unique way. We had a brief look at David Rodigan (who appeared to be playing a Rihanna song instead of the reggae and dancehall he is known for which was a bit of a disappointment knowing how good Rodigans sets usually are but there you go) before heading back to The Woodland for probably the highlight of the day, Alix Perez going B2B with Ivy Lab. They certainly didn’t disappoint with their blend of heavyweight hip hop beats that got a strong reaction from the Detonate throng. The beat selection was totally on point and the heavy instrumental hip hop they were blasting was a joy to experience and was more like a Low End Theory night with the tracks they were playing, with the familiar strains of Ol Dirty Bastard at one point a welcome addition. The whole set was utterly sublime and there was definitely a celebratory atmosphere in there when they played and if they do a repeat performance, it will be unmissable. A totally triumphant set.
After a bit of Kenny Ken doing his thing back at The Lakeside, it was back to the Main Stage to see Giggs and it was great to see the MC dominate such a large crowd with consummate ease. Tracks such as the evergreen Look What The Cat Dragged In and Talkin Da Hardest and his verses on Man Don’t Care and Three Wheel Ups thrilled the crowd and there was a even a sneak preview of material from his long awaited new album The Landlord in a set that saw Giggs exit the stage victoriously.
A quick check out of Novelist spitting his bars at The Lakeside stage showed exactly why he is being hailed as grimes next in line and DJ Zincs upbeat crack house set at The Pontoon was the perfect prefix before Shy FX took to the Main Stage with Stamina MC to get the entire crowd skanking in what was a perfect festival set. Reggae, dubstep and hip hop were mixed in with the D&B and jungle to great effect and the insane reaction to the obligatory Original Nuttah was something to behold and the reaction throughout his set is evidence of how revered Shy FX is with Stamina MC doing a fine job of getting the crowd pumped and as things came to a close, everyone was dancing with smiles on their faces.
As Chase & Status took to the stage for their headline set, we headed to The Big Top for the closing performance by Noisia and it turned out to be a great decision as they absolutely smashed it with everyone going crazy in the tent one last time and even dropped in some new material which sounded immense. Noisia were the perfect end to a phenomenal day with some superb performances from the get go and a brilliantly good natured vibe all day.
The next Detonate Festival can’t come soon enough. Roll on next year!