Constantly in the past year we have been mentioning Red Bull at the forefront of the underground music scene from all angles. Be it providing professional production spaces for a whole host of artists to filling the London Eye with 30 different brands for their brilliantly named ‘Revolutions of Sound’; they’re proving themselves to be a real leader in innovations of modern music. Their ‘Culture Clash’ series is another of such ventures, seeing them travelling to basically every corner of the UK choosing the top brands from each city and pitting them against each other in a multi-genre-free-for-all sound clash style, where the crew getting the biggest reaction determined by a microphone measuring decibles is crowned the winner.
The Birmingham leg saw Seedy Sonics, Leftfoot, 02.31 and Onedub all come together for a dance at the small warehouse venue Boxxed in Digbeth. The line ups for every stage were massive, featuring artists such as N-Type, Total Science and Mistanoize with Seedy Sonics, Mad Professor and Sam Redmore for Leftfoot, DJ Q and MC Trigga for 02.31 and Young Warrior himself (with sound system) representing Onedub. These are but some of the artists and as you can see, nearly all genres were accounted for in some way.
The rules were set out at the start of the night after a quick hour long set from Barely Legal, who although playing the warm up set went hard with the tunes and got people dancing early before the face off began. The first round saw each crew getting to grips with the format and the crowd themselves seemed a little disconnected for the first 40 minutes as people worked out how it was all working. Red Bull had hired a fantastic mic man though and he made sure everyone was well involved and by ‘The Selectors’ round things were really heating up.
Seedy Sonics brought the DNB hard in the first round and 02.31 opened with some milder bassline – with energetic mic men keeping the crowd bouncing. Leftfoot were keeping things lighter with some hip hop style beats but Onedub exploded straight out with their dubwise riddims. The Young Warrior sound system, although only a little of it, shone right out above the Funktion 1 rigs and reached depths they couldn’t imagine. Nothing can beat the natural roar of a good dub-reggae sound system.
The next round was just as heated, with some slightly unwelcome trash talk coming from certain crews aimed across the room. This clash was meant to be a bringing together of cultures not to separate them further and this vibe was picked up by all across the room. This didn’t damped spirits what so ever though and for the second round every crew was on fire. Mistanoise took control of the Seedy Sonics stage and absolutely blew everyone away, getting some huge reactions from a big mix of drum & bass. Onedub’s classic fire power sound was getting big reactions from the crowd too, it was nice to see so many people moving happily from stage to stage with every variety of sound really giving them wings.
Round three saw every crew really reaching for the big guns, Mali and N-type gave a 10 minute grime, garage and dubstep onslaught for Seedy and nearly brought the roof down. 02.31 upped the bpm and vibes too and brought out none other than MC Trigga for a suprise MC set over some really hard jump up and grime legend P Money. These are two artists I’ve always wanted to see, so this surprise was a real treat.
As the night drew to a close though there could only be one winner and the final round saw every team bringing out the fire to battle it out for the top spot. Although fire was played across all the stages, Leftfoot still had the crowd on their side and eventually were crowned kings of the dance.
It was a really fresh evening for Birmingham though and brought together nights and different varieties of music from all cultural corners of the Midlands. We asked Adam Regan, head of Leftfoot how it felt to win this prestigious award: “It was a real honour to be asked to compete in the 2014 Red Bull Culture Clash alongside some of Birmingham’s strongest club nights. We put a team together with the experience and creativity to go out and win it and that’s exactly what they did! Looking forward to defending our crown in 2015!”
We caught up with Liam Roberts (Mali) from camp Seedy and asked him what he thought about the event: “It was hugely enjoyable being part of the Red Bull Culture Clash, what a great concept for a club night. The music was on point from each crew all night and the atmosphere and competition between crews was electric throughout the show.Huge props to Leftfoot for their well deserved victory and shouts out to 2.31 for their rowdy and energetic vibes and a special mention for the incredible One Dub Sound System, it rattled the building all night long.”
There is a big final in London too which is unmissable if you’re a fan of this type of concept. Red Bull’s interesting and innovative involvements in the underground music scene are now at the forefront of modern music culture. It’s rare you see a large company with such a drive to further musical cultures on a really base level, interacting with inner city up and coming artists to put on good nights and make good music for the people who really want it. Excited to see what the future holds.