Purchased by the Dutch milk company OVV in 1920, the aptly titled Melkweg (Or ‘Milky Way’ in its English form) was converted into a multi-purpose music venue in the early 1970’s, and quickly established itself as one of the most important venues in Dutch music. This, in turn, opened an avenue for multiple promoters to seek refuge within the walls of the old milk producing plant, to provide a space to host more experimental events and promote underground music – leading to the formation of drum and bass night Major League.
Now moving into it’s 15th year, Major League teamed up with Fokuz to host room 2. The Rotterdam label’s presence over the Dutch drum and bass scene is undisputed, founded in early 1999 beginning with the formation of the Triple Vision Record Distribution company. Beginning with a back catalogue of early releases for artists such as Spectrasoul and Alix Perez, the label now spans an impressive collection of releases and pushes work from up and coming artists such as Malaky, Satl and Kasper.
With the rhetoric; ‘Always with regard for the past, but most definitely with an eye towards the future’, Fokuz didn´t fail to dissapoint – with Fokuz affiliate and local boy Edlan stepping up first, bringing some early weight into the mix and perfectly teeing up DBridge to make his way onto the stage.
It is prominent from listening to his own productions that the beats in DBridge’s tunes are produced long before any kind of instrumentation takes place – and from his set in the Oude Zaal, it is clear that his mixing takes a similar kind of route. Beautifully crafted breaks and crisp kick drums flared out of the speakers, mainly focusing on his own production as the Bad Company producer tore through his first set of the evening. A highlight came in the form of Inner Disbelief, a personal favourite tune, a song balancing perfectly between break-beat and liquid, encapsulating elements that creates both dance ability and melodic groove.
DBridge finished triumphantly, leaving Calibre to take the stage at 2am to race through smooth breaks and discordant piano loops. Sticking with Fokuz’s mantra, mixing tracks both old and new, Calibre seamlessly blended his signature style of drum and bass as SP:MC commanded the filled Oude Zaal through the early hours of Saturday morning. Calibre’s selection has always been consistent, and on a cold February night in Amsterdam, this performance was no different. Comprising heavy sub-base, fragile vocal lines and his signature style of filtered breaks (particularly relevant as Let Me Hold You rang out of the room two system) helped demonstrate why Calibre still breaks boundaries as both a DJ and producer – consistently raising the benchmark of UK drum and bass.
It was only after venturing through the massive main foyer and into the equally impressive 1,500 capacity main room that it kicked in how much the sound in room 2 was being overshadowed by it’s bigger counterpart. Drum and bass is a particularly difficult genre to get sound engineering right for, but Major League hit the nail on the head – crisp kick drums, hard-hitting sub bass and piercing high frequencies that stood out over the rest of the spectrum, pumping out of the in-house sound system.
Highlights from room 2 came in the form of Audio, dropping neurofunk rollers with excellently timed precision (with Headroom, yet again, providing an impressive floor filling quality, with the dub plate adding even more weight on top of the already crunching bassline) Bad Company continuing on the same theme (collaborating Fresh, DBridge and Maldini – formed from the ashes of Future Forces inc and Renegade Hardware), and Hamilton flying the flag for RAM and closing the night in suitable fashion.
With contributions from both Fokuz and RAM, the 15th birthday blow-out for Major League was an event of epic proportions. With power and momentum being provided by The Max (Room 1), it would seem that this was obvious choice for the punters – however room two, led by Calibre and DBridge, provided the best quality selection and intricate blending. The old milk factory was mixing up something completely different on February 2nd, and it’s fair to say Major League celebrated their anniversary with an unforgettable night.