Sub Faction continued to set the bar high with their most recent escapade, featuring headliners Kryptic Minds, Icicle and Commodo. Following on from their previous line ups, bringing artists such as Biome, Youngsta, V.I.V.E.K, Razor Rekta and Jay5ive, the Sub faction crew have been enlivening Stoke-on-Trent and striving to supply lovers of the dubstep scene with the biggest and best names around.
All their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, not only by the collective Sub faction fans, but additionally by the larger music venues in the area, who have picked up on the growing audience and the huge potential of the night, allowing Sub faction to rapidly progress from a 200 capacity venue, to a 400 capacity venue. Accompanying the upgrade in venue and the calibre of artists playing at the nights, there has been an evident and successful effort implemented in the lighting, backgrounds and effects used on stage, further demonstrating the massive talents of the people surrounding Sub faction, and showcasing the future potential of the night, improving what is already an impeccable set up.
On the 1st of June Sub faction held its most recent night at the Sugarmill in Hanley. It was one of many sessions held across the country in the build-up to Outlook Festival 2013, situated in Croatia at the end of August. It provided an absolutely flawless line up, easily one of the best out of the many outlook launch parties around the UK this year.
To kick off the night, some of the talented Sub Faction residents took to the stage, and as normal proceeded to rile up the crowd with ease. First up was Smokes, who began with an appreciated mix of roots reggae, providing a strong set and giving the crowd a taste of what would be in store at Outlook Festival in August. Following on from Smokes were Anwha and Mentok playing a b2b set, who continued on into dubstep and grime tracks, nicely warming the crowd for Commodo’s later grime influenced set. The guys played a flowing and well blended set, with top notch quality mixing. Tracks like ‘Warehouse Dub’ by Killawatt were spun out over the crowd, delivering a real feel good vibe to the night right from the start.
The headliners were then ready to unravel, with Kryptic Minds being the first to take to the stage, arguably one of the best artists in the game in recent years; they laid out some of their freshest dubs to date. The set consisted of all the echo-like and cave-like sounds you’d expect to hear from them. With a protruding influence of techno becoming more and more prominent in their label, Osiris Music UK, they featured a variety of techno based tracks including their collaboration with Killawatt, ‘Cunning Juncture’. This certainly brought a more abstract element to their set, and enabled more varied set, spanning away from their typically darker sets. One track I need to mention out of the midst of deep blends was their remix of Amit’s ‘Stay With Me’, which still after numerous listens makes my skin crawl. Rani’s elegant vocals resonate through the room bringing an element of tranquillity which descends over the crowd.
Readily following on from Kryptic Minds was Commodo; who provided the crowd with a healthy dose of grime. Prior to this night I have witnessed Commodos sets on two occasions; at System 1st birthday and Project 13: Secret sessions part 1, where I was blown away by his unique style, and exquisite selection of tracks which he manages to interlink together perfectly. ‘Querky’ was a track I was personally dying to hear out again, and without fail it certainly brought delight to everyone in the crowd. His set was also compiled with various other self-produced masterpieces such as his remix of ‘Miracles’. Another track I have to mention in relation to the grime influence in the set would be Kahn’s ‘Percy VIP’ which always gains a huge reaction from the crowd, whether it is the VIP, or another of the many remixes.
Icicle shifted it up a gear with his set, deviating away from the rest of the previous sets and turning towards his 170bpm material, stimulating the crowd into a more upbeat mood. This transition was distinctively different to other sub faction nights, where we had not yet seen a headliner play D&B, and although Icicle has a vast amount of back catalogue within the dubstep genre, it brought an entire different element to the night and was a breath of fresh air to hear a bigger variety of genres being played. He dropped tracks like Icona Pop ‘Nights Like This (Icicle D&B Remix)’, involving a frenzy of highs and other bass driven tracks which splurged from the sound system. It is clear to see why Icicle is held so highly in the game, with his intellectual mixing skills and ability to seamlessly merge various tracks together.
Last but not least, the final act to play was Blinkka, another skilled Sub faction resident. He played a vinyl drum and bass, showcasing immense talent and providing us with a high quality sound to end the night. At the previous resident nights I’ve been to, Blinkka had played house sets, so this new addition of vinyl drum and bass has added another nice component to the residents as a whole. The set was especially smooth considering it was all vinyl and he managed to drop numerous classics throughout the hour.
This was easily one of the best nights to date for the Sub Faction family, attendance wise, line up and general success of the night itself. It’s pleasing to see how much everything has developed over the past year, particularly in relation to the scene in Stoke; thanks primarily to the perseverance and organisation of the people behind Sub Faction. The vibe at these nights is what sets them apart from others in the surrounding areas, and without fail it always delivers an incredible atmosphere regardless of how small or how big the night is. Spectrum would like to thank Andy Shingler and all the lads who put the effort in day-in and day-out to organising continuous incredible nights, Holly Johnson for her superb photography, Jon Marks for his projection mapping visualisation, all the promoters pushing the tickets to help increase the crowds and get more people involved, and finally everyone who attends the nights, pays the money to be there and all in all makes the night what it is. Sub Faction are certainly climbing a steep slope, and they show no sign of giving up, so please go and show your support and help them on their way up.
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Written by Drew Jones