News

Why Is Bongo Closing For Summer (14th July – 29th August) And Where Will I Go Out?

24 June 2024 -

Holidays (700 px)

As happens every year at this time, Bongo will be closing its doors to make way for the Underbelly to take over the lease of the building for the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

We do not make any money from this arrangement.  It’s due to a quirk of our lease with the landlord (Edinburgh City Council).

Bongo’s resident promoters will be running/appearing at the following events during our July/August break.

BONGO PROMOTERS’ CALENDAR (SUMMER ’24)
(scroll down for more info, links etc)

Messenger, ‘Island Life’, Isle Of Arran, Friday 19th July
Club Nacht, Friday 19th July at Mash House w/Macka & Lowree
Midnight Bass, Wednesday 24th July at Sneaky Pete’s w/Messie (NZ)
Pulse, Friday 26th July at Mash House w/Freddy K (Key Vinyl, DE)
Midnight Bass, Wednesday 31st July – ‘Midnight Pub’ at The Oracle
Overground, Friday 2nd Aug, Mash House
Midnight Bass, Wednesday 7th Aug at Sneaky Pete’s w/Alex Onset (Sofa Sounds Bristol)
Overground, Wednesday 7th Aug, Cabaret Voltaire
Overground, Friday 9th Aug, Mash House
Club Nacht x Hobbes Music, Saturday 10th August at Mash House w/Man Power
Disco Makossa x Nights Like This, Saturday 10th August at La Belle Angele
Midnight Bass, Wednesday 14th Aug at Sneaky Pete’s w/imo-Lu (Hospital / Rosebay)
Overground, Wednesday 14th Aug, Cabaret Voltaire
Overground, Friday 16th Aug, Mash House
Midnight Bass, Wednesday 21st Aug at Sneaky Pete’s w/Kami-o (LDH / Soil & Sound)
Overground, Wednesday 21st Aug, Cabaret Voltaire
Overground, Friday 23rd Aug, Mash House
Midnight Bass, Wednesday 27th Aug at Sneaky Pete’s – MB x Sunday Service
Overground, Wednesday 27th Aug, Cabaret Voltaire

Messenger at Fringe by the Tee, North Berwick, 3pm, Sunday 14th July.  TICKETS

“Spend a Sunday afternoon in the company of Messenger Sound System playing a cool and relaxing style DJ set with MCs Afrikan Simba and Ista Lion + full Messenger crew in the area.”

Messenger w/MCs Afrikan Simba, Horseman & Ista at Island Vibe 2024, Fri 19th July, Isle Of Arran.  TICKETS

Club_Nacht welcome Macka & Lowree back to the Mash House to launch their debut album on Friday 19th July.  TICKETS

Midnight Bass will be running on weekly Wednesday nights from 24th July and then throughout August at Sneaky Pete’s, with Wednesday 31st July’s event at the West Port Oracle pub.  More info and tickets here.

Pulse welcomes Freddy K to Mash House (rescheduled from January) on Friday 26th July.

Overground will be doing weekly Wednesdays at Cabaret Voltaire and Fridays at The Mash House throughout August.  Keep on eye on their Instagram for details and their RA profile for tickets.

Club_Nacht & Hobbes Music welcome Man Power (Rekids) to the Mash House, Saturday 10th August.  TICKETS

Categories: Blog, News, Regular Club News
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Grammy award-winner Flowdan headlines Bongo for Uplands Roast

20 May 2024 -

Flowdan headlines Bongo for Uplands Roast this Thursday night, the first time a Grammy award-winner will have played the club in more than a few years and it’s set to be a road-block.

If you’re not familiar with the former grime MC and founder-member of east London’s legendary Roll Deep crew, this recent interview he did with Ammar Kalia for The Guardian is not a bad place to start at all…

He helped create grime and his baritone growl causes frenzies on the dancefloor. Now that the MC is finally getting his dues, what are his plans? To conquer America – and create more mayhem.

It has been two days since Marc Veira, AKA Flowdan, woke up to a flurry of messages and missed calls congratulating him on becoming the first British MC to win a Grammy. “I wasn’t expecting to win so I wasn’t waiting for the news,” he says by video-call from his east London home. “I still haven’t even celebrated. I guess it means I’m a newcomer in the US, even though I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

At 43, Veira has spent the past two decades applying his baritone growl to tracks guaranteed to cause a frenzy on British dancefloors. As a founding member of the UK rap collective Roll Deep, Veira played a key role in the birth of grime, alongside fellow members Wiley and Dizzee Rascal, while a long-running collaboration with producer the Bug created classics like the bass-heavy dubstep staple Skeng. Towering over 6ft, his beard peppered with grey hairs and his gold tooth glinting when he delivers his patois-inflected bars, Veira is an experienced marshal of unruly crowds, finally experiencing mainstream recognition.

His best dance/electronic recording Grammy award, for the track Rumble, caps a momentous year. It takes EDM pioneer Skrillex’s knack for gut-churning bass frequencies and UK co-producer Fred Again’s skill with a sample, and adds a skittering drum beat that interweaves with Veira’s high-tempo yet somehow languorous flow. Teased in DJ sets throughout 2022, the menacing track soon became a staple of arena shows, reaching its greatest power when dropped to a crowd of more than 100,000 people at Skrillex and Fred Again’s Coachella headline set in 2023.

Ever since, Veira has noticed a different energy among the crowds he performs to. “In the UK and Europe,” he says, “people know who I am but now they are responding to me with more intensity. It feels as if I’m getting more respect, like I’m the people’s champ.”

It is a response, no doubt, helped by another dancefloor smash Flowdan has had a guiding hand in over the past 12 months: Chase & Status’s Baddadan. Moving away from the crawling dubstep influences of Rumble into thundering drum’n’bass, Baddadan has become an emblem of the genre’s recent revival and reached No 5 in the UK charts. A Boiler Room recording of Veira performing the track in October captures the crowd erupting through four wheel-ups. It has since been viewed more than 6m times. “It was instinctive to put that one down,” Veira says. “Saul [one half of Chase & Status] sent it through and I just followed, since it’s music I’ve known my whole life.”

Indeed, Veira’s entry into MCing came through the 90s birth of drum’n’bass. After discovering a knack for rhyming and storytelling at 13, thanks to a homework assignment to write a poem, Veira began picking up on the style of formative drum’n’bass MCs such as Skibadee and MC Det. He realised that they were giving the sound system culture of his heritage a new form of bass-weight. “Listening to them on the radio awoke something in me,” he says. “They were English and Caribbean like me, so I began to emulate their lyrics. I was too young to go to the raves but I kept hearing how sick they were. It was a world I wanted to be a part of.”

It wasn’t until he met Wiley at college as a 16-year-old that Veira started finding his own voice. By 2001, the pair had formed Roll Deep and planted the seeds of grime. Now he was old enough to go to raves, Veira was the one on stage performing and creating the chaos. “There would be times,” he says with a smile, “when you’d get to a performance and the promoter would say, ‘Try not to get them too rowdy’ – which is not down to us. I remember some clubs had a ban on Pow! (Forward) [a 2004 grime release that Veira features on] because of how mad people would get when the song came on.”

While members of Roll Deep went on to achieve solo success, Veira kept seeking out unusual collaborations that were focused on keeping that sense of dancefloor madness alive. Producer Kevin Martin, AKA the Bug, was drawn to Veira’s vocal tone and their work has produced some of the loudest, most aggressively vibrational music you can hear at a club. “Sound system culture isn’t something I got to experience because of my age,” Veira says, “but when I started working with Kevin, he showed me what it’s like to create a sound so big it moves people. When you are the front guy, it’s a powerful machine to control. I’m proud to command the bass, vibrations and people.”

Their most lauded track is 2008’s Skeng, which emerged from only their third recording session together. “I was just about to leave the studio when Kevin convinced me to stay and work on the track,” Veira says. “I didn’t really want to be there, so I was being a spoiled brat and only using a minimal style, trying to get away with one word a line.” Ironically, that laid-back feel is what gives Skeng its raw, menacing power. “Kevin basically gave me an opportunity to be myself,” he says. “His audience might be from a different world to what I was used to, but we were all trying to channel the same energy.”

Ultimately, it’s this flair for crowd mayhem that has given Veira longevity in a young person’s game. He no longer sees himself as a grime artist, a rapper or a drum’n’bass MC. “I am the ultimate UK vocalist,” he says, with only a hint of mischievousness. Now the US is calling, with tour plans in motion, Veira will be taking his distinctly British brand of vocals global. “The UK scene has always been exciting, whether we’re winning awards or not,” he says. “I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done – and I’m celebrating every time I’m on stage.”

You can still grab a ticket for the event here but don’t sleep, as these will definitely sell out.

Categories: Blog, News, Regular Club News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘Godfather of breakbeat’ Randall headlines Disorder

29 March 2024 -

‘Godfather of breakbeat’ Randall headlines Disorder this Easter Friday.  A massively influential figure in jungle and drum n bass circles, Randall started out on the east London rave scene in the late Eighties and cemented his reputation at clubs such as The Rocket, Paradise, AWOL and the Blue Note in the Nineties.

In Fabio‘s words (from the interview below), “he absolutely ruled, I’ve never seen a DJ take over a club and rule.  They had six other DJs playing in there and no one really gave a shit because they were just waiting for Randall to come on and play.  He was doing this mixing thing and i’ve never seen anything like it and he used to have people come from all over England to watch him play… He used to make two tunes sound like one tune.”

This is a rare chance to catch this “DJ’s DJ” in Scotland.

As well as the above, the following conversation with Fabio at Outlook Festival 2017 is full of anecdotes from the halcyon era of clubbing in the Eighties & Nineties and some of the tunes which have left an indelible mark from that era.  Well worth the time.

This interview is reproduced from the Drum And Bass Arena website.

‘I’m just trying to spread a vibe’

Randall saying that is a like Usain Bolt saying he “likes a cheeky little run” or pies saying they’re “kinda tasty.” For many, Randall is a vibe.

We’ll spare you the Mac 2 founder’s history. You already know it. The most recent entrant into our Hall Of Fame at the Drum&BassArena Awards and frequently cited by Andy C, Friction, Mampi and any artist who graduated from AWOL or Blue Note universities as one of their most critical influences, we are all aware of Randall’s position and influence.

But here are some things you may not know… Like which DJ inspired him, who he wants to see in the Hall Of Fame, when his next Pieces album project is coming and why he kissed Calibre when he first met him.

You may also want to know he’s hosting tonight’s D&BTV session. It’s happening from 6pm – midnight BST at the Work Bar, London and it’s free entry if can make it down IRL – just register for guestlist here.

If not, join us online on Facebook or our own site and as Randall launches his Pieces Part 2 album with a truly killer cast: Digital, Serum, Shimon, Benny L, Cool Hand Flex, Trex and MCs Tonn Piper, AD and Inja.

Get up to speed then join us from 6pm-midnight…

Calibre told me in a recent interview that the first time he came to Music House you came up, kissed him and told him he was blessed.

It’s true. Total Science Smithy gave me a DAT of Fire & Water. It blew me away. Before we knew it everyone was playing his tunes. About a month later I eventually meet him in Music House and I did kiss him. He is blessed, he’s got some mad mad skills. I got a lot of time for Dominick.

A lot of people got a lot of time for you to be frank. We haven’t spoken since the awards… How’s life in the Hall Of Fame?

Yeah that was a bit mad. It’s very nice to be acknowledged but to be honest it shocked me. I’m just a DJ who’s trying to spread a vibe and stay true to the craft, I’m not an awards type of guy. But yeah, any love and respect that comes back is very nice and appreciated. But never forget; the next day it’s back to the grind – you can’t let awards or anything like that take you off your mission. That’s what it’s all about!

Who would you put in the Hall Of Fame?

Kenny Ken needs to be in there. Total Science, too. They’ve been putting out forward-thinking music for years mate. Every time I get tunes from them in I’m fucked… I get 10 tunes, I fall in love with at least six of them and then I have to work out which ones I’m actually going to play because otherwise I’m just playing a bloody Total Science set. Same with Dillinja! I had to restrain myself whenever he sent me things. How about Brockie? Where’s he in the Hall Of Fame? That’s what I want to see in that list. More DJs! They’re a very different role to the producers my friend. It’s all about selection, crowd reading and keeping people dancing.

Two entirely different arts…

Entirely. It’s where I come from. I was a fanboy of this DJ called Rhythm Doctor. The way he’d play and select blew my mind. He’d switched over the bottom ends and blend them so well I couldn’t tell the difference. I clocked that when I was 17/18 in The Dungeons on Lea Bridge Road. Hypnosis would hold raves there and guys like Ellis Dee would be playing. I was blessed to play there along with Fabio, Groove, Rap, Kenny… I was a young buck back then!

This is pre-Rage then?

Oh yes. Maybe 87 or 88. We all signed on to the craft of acid house and I learnt the format. It all became numbers, just counting bars, matching them perfectly and finding the drop. It’s exactly the same style I took into drum & bass. Of course it was all trial and error back then, doing tapes and listening to them over and over, learning from mistakes and waiting for my chance to play out. Then when you do… it’s a whole other game! Playing to a crowd made me realise it was more about just knowing the music and when the drops are. It’s about making people dance. I had to play to a few empty dancefloors to get that right.

Didn’t you have a breakthrough at a rave when someone didn’t turn up?

Yeah that was Living Dream by the same guys who did Hypnosis actually. It was 10,000 and I was supposed to go on after Seduction and before Colin Faver but he never turned up so I had two and a half hours to play. These days that’s a bless but back then I was like ‘fuck!’ I’d already played all my a-sides so had to draw the b-sides. But when you’re put in a situation like that, you end up playing better. You have to really think about it. That was my signing on date as a DJ people wanted to hear play. I got a residency straight after at Rocket Club with Fabs, Groove, Rap, Hype, Gachet. That ran for a few years and it was like a testing ground for new material, I’ve got really fond memories of that place. Then as that closed, AWOL started. The minute I walked into the Paradise Club I knew it was going to be hot. So that was the next testing ground. Then when Paradise Club closed Goldie gave us Blue Note. Basically for the whole of the 90s we’d always have this one place that was critical for breaking and testing new music.

And not be scared to clear the floor or shock people with the music…

Totally. Sometimes it would take weeks for people to get their heads around some of the tunes. It was fresh out of the box. It wasn’t even quantized right at the start. It was raw and loose and no one was scared to play dirty fresh tunes. I think people are too scared to take those type of risks now – you should never be scared to play any music. And ravers shouldn’t expect to be hit with the big stuff straight away. You won’t see me going for the big euphoria moments, I want to build up to that slowly and progressively. At least 30 minutes before the big euphoria or breakdowns. It’s about the journey.

Always. So… Pieces.

It’s been a few years since the first Pieces session so I’ve started up the second sessions and have been blessed with some incredible new music. I’ve also jumped in the studio myself with Shimon for some vibes and there’s some great bits from Trex, Cool Hand Flex, Benny Ill, Jaybee, T>I, DLR, Zere, Dave Owen and loads more. We’re building things up a bit, getting our artists together and looking to set up more parties for us all to have that testing ground vibe back again.

You’ve got a testing ground at The Nest too, right?

Yeah, the 21st. We got Diemantle playing who are killing it and Die’s always been blessed and good to me.

They’re risk takers like we were talking about…

Definitely! I’ve lived around the corner from Die since 2004 and he’s always been on that vibe. But what did you expect from a skater? He’s always got the vibes. The Nest is vibes too. You wouldn’t even know it’s there if you walked past it, I love that. It’s just a door on the street! I love the venue, too. Can’t beat intimate dances – you can see every face in the room and really get a proper buzz off people. As long as they don’t touch the decks, mind!

That ties in nicely with our show tonight at the bunker!

Yeah that’s a very cool little spot. When I was invited to do this it was a no brainer. I got my crew together, a few old mates and mates from the label with Tonn Piper and AD hosting. We’ll get a vibe on. I know they’re in the studio right now so who knows? You might get a little testing ground tonight…

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jungle & drum n bass legends Fabio & Grooverider make Bongo debut Friday 17th November

15 November 2023 -

Among the most revered DJs in the history UK dance music, Fabio & Grooverider play Bongo for the very first time, headlining Jungle Magik’s 3rd Birthday Party event on Friday 17th November.

It’s hard to over-estimate how deep this pair’s roots go and how profound their influence is on the wider international scene.  They were not just there when the scene was exploding around the UK: they were at the very epicentre of its development during the pivotal era between 1988 and 1993, as resident DJs for the seminal London club night, Rage, at Heaven in Charing Cross.

This is where jungle and drum n bass music was effectively born, at their fingertips, as the house, techno, hardcore and rave sounds mutated via Fabio & Grooverider’s incorporation of the more breakbeat-driven sound that was emerging from a few producers’ studios.  They mixed innovative records such as Renegade Soundwave’s The Phantom alongside contemporary hip house productions plus their favourite instrumental hip hop tracks, the latter of which were all played at the wrong speed to match the tempo of these other dance tracks.  It seems so obvious now but was truly groundbreaking stuff that very few other DJs were doing.

The next thing they knew, people started making records like Lennie De Ice’s We Are IE…

True pioneers, it really is a pleasure to have them on at Bongo for the first time.  These guys are all about the music and always deliver the best they can, so you can be sure they will be putting our Danley Sound Lab PA through its paces!   ‘Watch yer bass-bins, I’m telling ya!’

Check out some of the clips below for a more comprehensive telling of Fabio & Grooverider’s story by fellow legends such as Goldie (Metalheadz), Storm, Bushwacka, Bryan Gee, MC GQ, Colin Dale, Carl Loben (DJ Mag) and the duo’s own recollections, alongside some great archive footage.

Tickets for Friday are available here.

 

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HALLOWEEN EVENTS AT BONGO

26 October 2023 -

With Halloween becoming almost as big as NYE (if not bigger?!), there are quite a few Halloween themed events happening at Bongo this season.

THURS 26TH OCT: UPLANDS ROAST w/CHARLIE P, WENDS, VIXEN SOUND, 527 SOUND SYSTEM (DJ SET)

The unofficial start to Halloween, as promoters Uplands Roast haven’t declared it remotely haunted but they HAVE got a SOLID line up in, as per previous sold out events (with Mungo’s HiFi and General Levy).  Ace reggae vocalist Charlie P headlines this one, showcasing why he’s got one of the best toasting voices this side of Kingston with a bevy of extremely talents in support.

ELECTRIKAL SOUND SYSTEM (DNB HALLOWEEN): RODENT, POLLYANNA, HARRY JACKSON, D/RUSS, HONKIN HIFI, T-O-D, EOIN ++

Electrikal comes correct once again with another Wall Of Bass happening, this time inviting floor-shaking local sound system aces Messenger to provide the PA (the first in a series of such guest PA style events from them) and some of the finest dnb players on the Scottish circuit.  And, subtitled ‘DNB Halloween’, you can expect a more ghoulish playlist than usual.

MUMBO JUMBO: HALLOWEEN DANCE

Mumbo audience LOVES a Halloween party, as last year’s sold out event proved and this year shouldn’t be any different.  Expect a slightly spooky, party-starting selection of disco and house from residents Trendy Wendy, Steve Austin and Mairi B (live percussion & warm-up).  Upstairs YBZ Collective – DJs Texyo, Gilbo Zoe, William and Harry – deliver their mix of Garage, Techno, DnB, Grime, Dub & Rave.

MIDNIGHT BASS (BONGOWEEN ’23): LU.RE, ARFA, FEENA, SMIFF, MB DJs [SOLD OUT]

Midnight Bass’s ‘Bongoween’ party is now firmly entrenched as an annual tradition here and among the best nights out of the season and this year will be no different, as they welcome buzzing UKG newcomers Arfa (Brighter Days Family / Shall Not Fade) and Lu.Re (Kicks & Snares) to headline, with support from local champions Feena & Smiff (Postal / Red Room Sound).

NB This is now completely SOLD OUT.  However, if you’ve missed out on the chance of bagging a ticket, you might get lucky via RA re-sale or with someone else flogging (an) extra ticket(s) at the door, due to an over-enthusiastic purchase, flaky pals dropping out etc…

FEMMERGY: 2ND BIRTHDAY BASH

Femmergy’s 2nd Birthday Bash doesn’t have an explicit Halloween theme but, knowing them, they’ll be making some ghostly moves on the night!  LINE UP: Sweet Philly, CLO (2),
Groundskeeper Fanny, Annafleur, Katelate, Rianna, NANI, Matt.

OVERGROUND: RAVE TO THE GRAVE

Overground, on the other hand, are taking it all the way to the cemetery and back!  “On Halloween Friday (3rd Nov), Bongo Club enters the Twilight Zone for Part 2 of Overground’s Halloween Spooktacular,” they say. “R2TG will see our (g)rave digger DJs trace back the evolution of rave music. An anthology of hardcore; from the cradle to the (g)rave. Expect ghoulish garage, haunting hardcore, devilish dubstep, bloodcurdling breaks, and gruesome grime. Electrifying eclecticism to raise the undead.”

TAIS-TOI: NARCISS

We’re equally uncertain how much Tais-Toi’s guest will be digging into their Halloween playlist but we do know it’ll be banging!  Don’t miss this if you could use a shot of fast-paced Hard Groove action to get your pulse racing….

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

FRESHERS’ WEEK AT BONGO

05 September 2023 -

Bongo will be open every night (bar Sunday) for this year’s Freshers’ Week, featuring no shortage of special guests, big events throughout and the action effectively kicking off a few days early….

THURSDAY 7TH SEPT: CANDYFLIP – ‘RAVETOPIA’

If you’ve arrived extra early, come check out Candy Flip from regular Bongo promoters Alien Disko.  This night flips the script/s of their regular playlist/s, championing some of the less well-known corners, the more niche genres, of the dance music scene, on this occasion shining a light on Donk, Makina, Bassline, Jersey Club, alongside a helping of less niche Drum and Bass.  The  line features “underground legends and rising stars who are masters of their craft”: Seaurchin, Amhailt.xox, Rodent b2b F:N and trap6mafia.   RA TICKETS

FRIDAY 8TH SEPT: OVERGROUND – ‘BACK 2 BONGO’

Bongo regulars for some years now, the Overground crew know how to throw a party, consistently hosting packed out events at the club  (and you can get a taste of previous nights via their photo album).   Following a slew of dates at Mash House and Sneaky Pete’s throughout August (when Bongo is always closed, due to the Underbelly), hence ‘Back 2 Bongo’, they advise as follows: “Expect hardcore, techno, garage, jungle and razor sharp cuts from the outer limits of club innovations. Limited FREE B4 MIDNIGHT advance tickets are available for the early birds. These are very limited and will sell out.”  Don’t sleep: RA TICKETS.

SATURDAY 9TH SEPT: TAIS-TOI x RARE: SHAMPAIN B2B IMOGEN

Relative newcomers to Bongo, Tais-Toi promoted DJ Hearstring here in January and then MRD for our Summer Closing event in July, with both events selling out.  As a special Freshers treat, Rare and Tais-Toi have teamed up to bring two very special acts their debut back-to-back.   LINE UP: Shampain b2b IMOGEN, Tais-Toi, Oakley CarterRA TICKETS.

MONDAY 11TH: ORIGIN FRESHERS SPECIAL

Last seen at Bongo in November ’22, student promoters Origin host parties around town championing some of the best DJs from the local student communities.  “ORIGIN is back for Freshers Week!” they say.  “Exhibiting Edinburgh’s finest student DJs across both floors of the Bongo Club, ORIGIN will be kicking the year off with a bang.”  LINE UP: Ferb, DJ Discgrace, Archie Holmes, Gabriel Hopton, George Kemp, Felix B2B Sam B2B Felix, Freddie Dumbill.  RA TICKETS

TUESDAY 12TH: MIDNIGHT BASS

Hosting weekly parties at Bongo since late ’17 (with these consistently hitting the club’s capacity since the end of the Pandemic), Midnight Bass is the home of all things drum n bass (some would say the spiritual home of the nu skool and cream of the burgeoning Scottish scene).  If you’re looking to get your midweek groove on or just soak up the buzz, look no further.

WEDNESDAY 13TH: PARADOX RECORDS W/FUNK CARTEL & BASTIANO

Fledgling promoters & local label Paradox make their Bongo debut with UK fraternal house DJ & production Funk Cartel, who recently capped a run of dates at London’s 93 Feet East venue by releasing a collaboration with legendary house music diva Ulta Nate (house music royalty, basically!)  Ooft.  LINE UP: Funk Cartel, Bastiano. RA TICKETS

THURSDAY 14TH: DISORDER FRESHERS’ SPECIAL W/ENTA

Disorder DJ/promoter Harry Jackson is a very well-known face at Bongo, as a result of popping up behind the decks at Midnight Bass (among other local dnb nights) on a regular basis.  He launched Disorder here earlier this year, to champion some of his favourite artists from the scene.  “Disorder is back again for its third instalment at Bongo for a freshers week special!” he says.  “This time inviting London based drum & bass DJ & Producer Enta, up for his Scottish debut. With a strong line up filled with heavy hitters this is sure to go off!” LINE UP: Room 1 (Drum & Bass): Enta, Myco B2B Kosmotix (Bass Injection), Peski, Harry Jackson, Verbivore MC. Room 2 (Techno / Hard Dance):
DV60 B2B Ryan Murphy. MORE INFO & TICKETS

FRIDAY 15TH: ALIEN DISKO: GLITCHGIRL, POLLYANNA + CLUB ANYWHEN: IN THE WILD

Alien Disko have hit Bongo and the Cowgate scene hard in the last year, with a run of dates flying the flag for hard and fast dance music of all persuasions.  Their 1st Birthday with French techno-trance star Axyom was a big one here back in March and this date promises to pull just as few punches as they welcome Spanish player Glitchgirl “to unleash her unique blend of genre-bending chaos upon us!”  they say.  “She has released several albums spanning a wide variety of sounds with elements of Breakcore, Drum and Bass, Hardcore, IDM, and Donk. Her DJ sets are an explosive concotion of 174+ BPM madness, focussed in Drum and Bass but always refusing to conform to traditional genre lines. Having played all across Europe and at events like Bang Face and Tramlines Festival, she now sets her sights on Edinburgh to bring the mayhem to Alien Disko!”  LINE UP – MAIN ROOM: GLITCHGIRL, Pollyanna (Sunday Service), Teknocrat (Alien Disko), Rodent b2b F:N (Alien Disko/Candy Flip).  UPSTAIRS: Morphamish (ETC/Riot Radio Records), Laldy, Live visuals from Pencase and Bloof.  MORE INFO/TIX // CHEAP TIX VIA RA

SATURDAY 16TH: CLUB NACHT x HOBBES MUSIC W/AUSTIN ATO

Club Nacht host a monthly party at the Mash House, celebrating all things house, techno, acid, electro etc.  Hobbes Music is an Edinburgh label, currently celebrating ten years of electronic music releases for all occasions (including, naturally, all things house, techno, acid, electro etc), with many on vinyl.  Following their big party with German duo COEO back in February, they team up again to present the unstoppable force that is Austin Ato, capping this season’s Fresher’s Week celebrations at Bongo.  ROOM 1: AUSTIN ATO, HOBBES. ROOM 2: NAMELESS BROS, PARADOX RECORDS. MORE INFO/TIX // BAG CHEAP TIX VIA RA.

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Is Bongo Closing For Summer (16th July – 31st August) And Where Will I Go Out?

03 July 2023 -

Holidays (700 px)

As happens every year at this time, Bongo will be closing its doors to make way for the Underbelly to take over the lease of the building for the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

We do not make any money from this arrangement.  It’s due to a quirk of our lease with the landlord (Edinburgh City Council).

Bongo’s resident promoters will be running/appearing at the following events during our July/August break:

CLUBS


Midnight Bass
Weekly Tuesdays at Cabaret Voltaire.
Tickets

Overground
Weekly Fridays at The Mash House throughout August.
Tickets

Pulse
w/Sunil Sharpe at The Mash House, Saturday 29th July – Tickets
Pulse x Jackhammer w/The Advent at La Belle Angele, Saturday 5th August – Tickets
w/Slam at The Mash House, Saturday 26th August – Instagram for more info as announced

Disco Makossa
w/Optimistic Soul (Africa Is Now), Friday 18th August – Tickets

Messenger Sound System
w/Mungo’s Hi Fi, Levi Roots & Afrikan Simba, Sat 29th July at Summerhall – Tickets
w/Hometown Hi Fi, Sat 26th August at Summerhall – Instagram for more info as announced

Mumbo Jumbo
Wendy, Steve & Mairi B at Mug Stock, Friday 4th August

Mini-Mumbo at The Street, Saturday 19th August 10pm-5am (FREE EVENT)

GIGS

The Baron Nonesutch LIVE at St Margaret’s House (Art Opening), 7pm, Thurs 10th Aug

Here’s a quick rundown of our Summer Closing Parties 2023:

Friday 30th June: Jackhammer presents I Love Acid w/Luke Vibert, Nightwave and Posthuman, playing acid house and techno.

Saturday 1st July: Messenger Sound System’s Sweet Sounds For The King (Ras Tafari Birthday celebration), playing dub reggae.

Tuesday 4th: Midnight Bass w/Clean Up Crew, 170Lex, JI2001, Kay Dee, Dav, Lara Sinclair, playing drum n bass.

Friday 7th: Truth Hz International DJ Federation w/Elanda, Camoufly, Arthi,
Comrade Massie plus WIZE & MoreNight, SWATT TEAM, Volens Chorus upstairs, all playing club and bass music from across the spectrum.

Saturday 8th: Mumbo Jumbo w/Trendy Wendy, Steve Austin, Mairi B, playing house music and disco plus YBZ Collective upstairs, playing garage, techno, dnb, grime, dub & rave.

Tuesday 11th: Midnight Bass w/ M.O.B (3000 Bass, DnB Lab, 4040 Records), miira,
Hobbes [Hardcore & Jungle Vinyl Set], Harry Jackson (Disorder Edinburgh), playing drum n bass and jungle plus a Club_Nacht Takeover upstairs, playign house music and disco. 

Thursday 13th: Nektar (Charity Event) w/Sadovski (EMS), Katelate (Femmergy, Principle 8)
Item9 (Half Past Now), Evska (EMS, Rave for Ukraine), showcasing techno and bass music by leading queer and Eastern European producers.

Friday 14th: Overground w/Lucky Dip and Wrisk plus guests TBA for a night of hardcore, grime, garage, jungle, club and much more.

Saturday 15th: Tais-toi w/Norwegian techno-trance newcomer MRD, who promotes debut album, Løvehjerte with his unique blend of fast-paced, melodic techno and atmospheric sounds, taking inspiration from the 80s & 90s.”

 

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

UKF FEATURE ON MIDNIGHT BASS, BONGO & THE SCOTTISH DNB SCENE: ‘RAVE SCENES – EDINBURGH’

26 January 2023 -

This feature was first published by the UKF website.  Words by Becca Inglis.   

“Edinburgh’s a really good hub for connecting the whole of Scotland together,” says Anikonik, local DJ, Nook promoter and former EQ50 mentee. “You could probably fit the whole of the drum & bass scene in Scotland into Bristol.” To put the size of the Scottish scene into perspective, there are fewer people in the whole of Scotland than there are in London – London has a population of nearly nine million, while Scotland only has five million.

That means that, even with more than a hundred miles between Aberdeen and Edinburgh, Scottish heads tend to travel between cities to attend club nights. You’ll see the same faces at Midnight Bass in Edinburgh, Symbiosis in Glasgow, or the Junglism Castle Party in Dundee. There’s even the Jungle Bus, which couriers Aberdonians down to big d&b nights in the central belt.

But in spite of its committed fanbase, drum n’ bass remains an underdog genre in Scotland.  “Everywhere else in Scotland is a lot more of a techno culture, really,” says producer Refracta, who plays as a resident with Electrikal and Midnight Bass. Names like Slam, JD Twitch, Optimo, Sub Club and Pure have all helped to put Scotland’s name on the global electronic music map, with Glasgow’s nightlife especially celebrated worldwide for its bustling house and techno scene. It’s one of Scotland’s oddities that, though Glasgow’s is considered the country’s music capital, it’s in Edinburgh that breakbeat has built its strongest enclave.

“Edinburgh’s definitely the drum & bass capital of Scotland,” says Anikonik, who moved down from Dundee with the night she co-promotes, Junglism Scotland, in 2016. She’s far from the only Scottish d&b fan to have gravitated to Edinburgh. Refracta used to mission over to Bongo from North Berwick, a seaside town an hour up the road. Richard Ince and DJ Era ventured up from the Scottish Borders in 2007, before they built their now notorious rig, Electrikal Sound System.

Photo Credit: Ben Glasgow (Lights Out Collective)

Scene veteran DJ Kid thinks that the reason why drum & bass has taken off so much more in Edinburgh than elsewhere in Scotland mostly lies with its university students. “Because you’ve got that new influx every year, it’s like this revolving door of students. It means you’ll always have that support,” he says. “If it wasn’t for the amount of English students that were in Edinburgh, there wouldn’t have been a scene over the years.” Nearly a quarter of students admitted to the University of Edinburgh in 2021 were English, and they bring their music tastes with them each year when they come up to study. That’s as true today as it was in the 90s, when DJ Kid was a resident at the one-time Edinburgh institution, Manga.

Scotland didn’t take easily to breakbeat at first, DJ Kid remembers. Unlike the nights that were booking him down south, where he played teeming jungle and hardcore raves, he and Manga founder G-Mac struggled to fill the floor at La Belle Angele. More than once, DJ Kid played to a room of 30 people in a 500 capacity venue. “You just couldn’t get breakbeat and jungle accepted in Scotland,” he says. “The majority of music that was always heard up here was a 4/4 beat.”

But there came a turning point in 1997, when Manga booked Ed Rush to play their first birthday. “We had never had a sellout, and it completely sold out in advance,” says DJ Kid. “The line from La Belle was down the vennel and away up the road on the Cowgate. I remember thinking, ‘This is mad, this is it. This is when it’s finally gonna happen.’ From then on, Manga became a bit of a monster.” Manga was the go-to drum & bass night for the next decade, selling out monthly and bringing up jungle and d&b stalwarts, like Roni Size, Fabio & Grooverider and DJ Marky, until its last party in 2008. “People would come to Manga even if I had my gran on the decks,” says DJ Kid. “It was a big wave that we were on.”

Edinburgh’s drum & bass scene has always tended to have one or two big brands leading the charge. After Manga came Xplicit (which was started by the same team as Edinburgh’s electronic music festival, Terminal V), and then Electrikal Sound System, which remains Scotland’s most recognisable d&b sound system today. It was Mungo’s Hi Fi who first taught founder Richard how to build and switch on the notoriously full-throated blue-horned stacks, after they gatecrashed an early Electrikal free party in Moffat.

“We had these little speakers,” Richard says. “Mungo’s turned up on the Saturday with a sound system. They have full Mungo’s overalls on. Jerome in his French accent was like, ‘Do you need some extra speakers?’ And they just opened the side of the van to half of Mungo’s Hi Fi. They set it up in this barn and absolutely kicked the arse out of it. We actually had to turn the generator off because they wouldn’t stop playing.”

Today, Electrikal can be found powering sets all over the UK, with regular sellout slots in Bristol, bookings at festivals like Boomtown, Outlook and NASS, and now a national tour. “At Boomtown, we had 10,000 people turn up to the Electrikal/Born On The Road street party,” says Richard. “I’d say we’re up there as one of the premium drum & bass sound systems, hopefully following in the footsteps of people like Valve Sound System. Obviously, Mungo’s Hi Fi were doing that for the reggae scene as well. We’re flying the flag high for Scotland with Bucky, Irn Bru and haggis-infused dubplates.”

Back in Edinburgh, they’re known for their heavyweight Wall of Bass nights, as well as for packing out Bongo with high profile acts, like Serum, Andy C and Dillinja, or artists on the cusp of breaking out, as with Hedex and Born On The Road. For more than ten years, Electrikal have been an essential conduit between Scotland and drum & bass around the UK.

That’s especially important for a scene based hundreds of miles away from the d&b heartlands in London and Bristol, where booking big names comes at a high price. Travel is automatically more expensive, and DJs need putting up in accommodation too. As costs rack up, they can get too prohibitive for smaller promoters.

“If you’ve got an act coming up from Bristol, you’re talking £200-300 return train tickets for one person,” says Anikonik. “That’s a joke. And then hotels in Edinburgh are extortionate. Unless you’ve got a really big following, you can’t afford to do that kind of stuff, which is unfortunate.”

“To be a promoter in Scotland right now, you need some serious cash behind you,” Richard adds. “Even the small to mid-sized acts have doubled or tripled their fees over lockdown, because they’re trying to make up for it, and it’s been making events harder and harder to put on.”

But, in a roundabout way, these setbacks may actually have benefited the local-led culture in Edinburgh, which can be found out in full force every Tuesday night at Midnight Bass. “Midnight Bass is the backbone, as far as I’m concerned, of the scene here,” says DJ Kid. “To have a weekly night that plays drum n’ bass in Edinburgh, it’s phenomenal.”

“There’s literally DJs I’ve never even heard of in Edinburgh that sell out the Tuesday night,” says Refracta. “Tuesday at Bongo is probably one of the busiest nights of the week, if not the busiest.”

Midnight Bass exists specifically to platform homegrown Scottish talent. Every Tuesday, the roster is made up of mostly locals, both the more established selectors and emerging DJs. Competition to play is high – browsing their past line-ups reveals the staggering number of people keen to assume position behind the decks, even in a small scene.

“There were loads of drum n’ bass crews that were doing small parties across Edinburgh. What we started doing was bringing all these parties together,” says Jamie. “A lot of these events, DJs and crews all have their own wee crowds. By bringing more people together, we can create a bit more of a cohesive community for drum & bass in Edinburgh.”

When the pandemic forced Midnight Bass to pause in 2020, they turned their attention to Scotland’s producers, releasing the Scotland VA on Bandcamp. Refracta features on the compilation, as do Torso and Mastaki, whose collab with Idylist, “Fatboi”, was named track of the week by BBC Introducing in Scotland. “It just so happened at that point in time that there were quite a few producers across Scotland all doing the same thing,” says Jamie. “We decided that we’d pull it all together for this release.”

A big part of their motivation was to showcase Scotland’s drum & bass artists to the rest of the UK, even the world. “Scotland has its own drum & bass scene. It’s insular compared to other cities and places around the UK,” Jamie says. “There’s quite a few DJs that haven’t really been picked up by promoters down south.”

Refracta agrees that being a producer in Scotland, so far away from the larger nights and labels down south, brings its challenges. “It is really difficult, I won’t lie,” he says. “It was really hard to network up here. I imagine the majority of label people and promoters have thousands of little people like me in their Instagram messages every day. Whereas if you’re in person, people will give you a lot more time of day.”

Nonetheless, Scotland’s producers have enjoyed quite a bit of attention down south of late. Refracta’s Elevate EP was picked up by DJ Hybrid’s Audio Addict label in 2021, while his funky collab with Torso, “Hollow”, went viral on Soundcloud. Blu Mar Ten put out WhyTwo’s record, Ghost, last year and imo-Lu has joined the Hospital family with the wistful liquid number “Hard Feelings”. Both imo-Lu and Anikonik are repping Scotland on the EQ50 mentoring scheme. Scotland hasn’t always been known for its prolific d&b producers, but that could be about to change.

It’s an exciting time for the DJs and promoters too. Since the pandemic, seemingly dozens of new names and nights have popped up in the city, signalling a new generation keen to make their mark. “Pre-COVID I knew all the DJs in the city off by heart,” says Prolifix, who runs Metropolis in The Mash House. “If you were new, you were on my radar like that. The other week I was headlining a night at Midnight Bass at Bongo, and I had a look at the lineup and I thought, ‘Who are you all?’”

The trick to sustaining a scene as small and as busy as Edinburgh’s is collaboration, says Prolifix. When you share the same audience not just with other club nights in your city, but the rest of the country, it’s in no one’s interests to clash. “You wouldn’t throw a drum & bass night on a Tuesday, when Midnight Bass is on. You just wouldn’t fucking do it,” he says. There’s a noticeable camaraderie between the promoters in Edinburgh. Nobody wants their own night to fall flat because another night was on, and everybody wants the scene to succeed. “At the end of the day, everyone’s out there for each other. We’ve all got each other’s backs,” says Prolifix. “It’s a small movement in terms of drum & bass scenes throughout the world, but we’re really close knit.”

One new night that has emerged since the pandemic is Sunday Service, which is spearheading the daytime party format in Edinburgh. Every first Sunday of the month, founder Pollyanna hosts an open decks session at The Dog House, where liquid tracks to accompany a chilled pint are the order of the day. Pollyanna set it up after she returned from Bristol, where she had been living for six years.

“I used to go to open decks at a place called To The Moon, which is a bar in Bristol, and I really liked the vibe,” she says. “You can bridge the gap between DJing at home and DJing in a club with DJing in a bar.” Sunday Service is the place for budding DJs to cut their teeth before they try their hand at Midnight Bass, or for more seasoned artists to get in some practice. Every month, it attracts a diverse crowd, with many of the older heads tempted out by the earlier closing time.

“I’ve been so happy to see it grow into exactly what I hoped it would – very supportive and inclusive,” says Pollyanna. “It’s to create a community vibe as well. It’s more like a DJ and producer meet up. Everyone that comes is a big lover of the scene and that type of music. It’s actually a chance for people to get to chat.”

People like Brynk and Ominous, two DJs who met at Sunday Service and are now launching their own club night, Niteshift. Brynk came to Edinburgh as a student, after fervently following the UK’s drum & bass from his home in Poland. Ominous started raving in the old Bongo – a dive venue that sat on Holyrood Road through the 00s, and is remembered fondly by many.

“In Scotland, there is much less opportunity to play, because of the timings. The finishing at 3AM, four slots,” says Brynk. “However, I believe that it’s really growing. It’s a good curve. I think you can tell by the nights that are opening. There are several new nights that happened just after the lockdown.”

“Small and strong” is the phrase that Pollyanna uses to describe the state of Edinburgh’s drum & bass scene today. Even with the challenges that it faces, it still stubbornly holds on in the Scottish capital, and has done for more than three decades now. And there are advantages to being on the petit side.

“If you were to start producing or DJing in somewhere like Bristol or London, there’s so many other people doing the same thing,” she says. “It’s hard to stand out. It’s hard to find that community vibe. But in Edinburgh, because there is a select amount of clubs that put on good electronic music, you get to know everyone. Everyone’s so passionate and everyone is really supportive.”

“I’ve seen it high and I’ve seen some lows, but it seems to be getting stronger again,” says Ominous. “It’s healthy. There’s several people trying to put on nights and it’s always good vibes. It’s a community.”

“Right now, it’s in the very early stages of becoming a culture,” says Refracta. “Whether or not it lasts is another thing, but I sure as shit hope it does.”

 

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BRAND NEW DANLEY SOUND LAB PA IN MAIN ROOM

03 October 2022 -

Following extensive testing and the arrival just last week of the remaining two bass bins (replacing our old D&B rig), we are now rocking a FULL and brand spanking NEW Danley Sound Lab PA in the main room.

Here’s the technical chat for all audio nerds and environmentally conscious beings (from A Live Sound Ltd who did the installation):

“The Bongo’s new Danley PA consists of 2x SH46, 2x SM60i and 4x BC 215 subs powered by a Danley 20K4 and 20K8 amplifiers.

The new PA is extremely efficient and has lowered the electrical use of the venue from the old system by 65%.

With the venue’s focus on bass music and clubs, the sub needed to be up front and centre and BC215s will certainly do that.

Smart, sustainable high impact sound, that transforms the audience experience.”

Danley Distribution
A Live
Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , ,

HOMETOWN PROMOTIONS SOUND SYSTEM WELCOME REGGAE TALENT CHARLIE P, THURS 29TH SEPT

26 September 2022 -

Glasgow’s Hometown Promotion Sound System crew have booked Southend’s rising star of the reggae scene, Charlie P, to headline their next date.

Still in his early 20s, Charlie P started doing talent shows and gigs when he was still in short trousers and has clearly honed his talent.  His 2014 single for Glasgow’s Scotch Bonnet label, Nice It Up, has now had over 1 million hits on YouTube.

Check out the documentary clip above for a full Charlie P story and grab a ticket for the gig here.  Support on the night from Tom Spirals (live) and the Hometown crew.

Categories: Blog, News
Tags: , , , , , ,