Chase and Status - O2 Academy Birmingham - 24/11/2016
The queue is round the block, and when you finally get near the doors, you can feel the bass that Dimension is dropping already. But first, you have to negotiate the security checks. For good reason, this crowd seems to have been drinking hard already. Finally, I get through the door and catch the end of Dimension's massive sounding set.
It's pretty strong in all fairness. Not my usual choice, but I find myself bouncing pretty quickly. There's a level of confidence in the MC, who prowls the stage, occasionally barking instructions to the crowd and starting the next tune. Unfortunately, because it took forever to get in, I missed most of the set.
DJ Maximum is running the PA tonight, and the place picks up when he drops the likes of Skepta, Solo 45, etc. He sets the tone perfectly for the next act, his bandmate, Boy Better Know's Frisco, who instantly hypes the "0121 crowd... live". If you like Grime, this is who you want to watch. I'm pretty sure, despite his own career, if BBK were here, it may go down better with the crowd that is partisan some are questioning why a grime artist is on a "drum and bass" show, and the rest are into it, dancing and bigging Frisco up on a next hype. The guy is good fun, and makes the most of his short set, which includes a mass sing along to "Too Many Man".
Finally, after a shorter time period than I'm used to, a wall of light appears across the stage. It soon turns to red and "We Are All You Need" begins the huge set by the headliners, Chase and Status. From note one, through a guest appearance by Tempa T, the crowd doesn't stop moving. Every single song is high "NRG" and if you don't join in, you are in the wrong place. Frisco rejoins us and makes his presence known, and some vocal tracks (looking at you, Plan B) are outsung by this sold out crowd. Not one word is missed, not one instruction not obeyed. By "Blind Faith", featuring an appearance from Liam Bailey, my voice is gone, and my body aches, but I go on. Willingly, I might add. Truly brilliant.
Chase and Status are known for their chaotic crowds, and insane production. Because tonight is sold out, I'm stood at the sound desk, which is as close as I can get to the stage. The guys there worked so hard. And they were all dancing and bopping too (all while doing a fantastic job). The light show alone is absolutely incredible, the video wall was never the focus, nor was it outshined by the light show.
The music was even more incredible, and the atmosphere, whilst hot, sweaty and invaded by numerous mosh pits, was exquisite. Despite the amount of booze, nobody is aggressively drunk, and all are here for a good time.
One would think that there's no energy left, but each song seems to just build more energy, and by the end, the sweat is dripping from every pore of every person in the place. But they're still going. You cannot fault anyone for that, but praise Rage, who has been with Chase and Status since way back when, even before I saw them back at Ibiza Rocks in 2010. The intensity and passion hasn't changed, and they show no signs of stopping any time soon. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that they may be on Arenas and Stadia tours next, selling them out and causing chaos there, from front to back, left to right.
The first song of the set perfectly set the tone for the night. Remember to breathe, these guys are so much fun that you might forget how to.