Bugged Out Weekender Review.

Bugged Out Weekender.

January is normally a month of staying in a longing for payday, and the last thing you think of is going a three day dance music bender, but that didn’t stop the guys at Bugged Out from taking over (a very windy) Butlins Resort in Bognor Regis to present the inaugural Bugged Out Weekender last weekend. With a mouth watering line-up of heavy weight techno stars alongside bass-heavy big names to tempt us out of detox’s we made the pilgrimage to the South coast alongside a couple of thousand of dedicated music fans.

Firstly, we have to say Butlins is a great venue for a weekender, the resort venues are a stone’s throw from each other making hoping from one room to another effortless, which was a blessing seeing as the line up was so tempting it was hard to choose who to see. We stayed in the hotel and the rooms were modern and spacious. Of course if you were going en-mass a chalet would definitely be the way to go, with your own living room and kitchen to chill out in.

And so, of course, down to what we were really there for, the music. For any serious dance music fan there was a mouth watering selection on offer. Kicking things off in the main room, which was, pretty obviously, headed up by Bugged Out themselves was Nathan Detroit, who prepped the travel-weary ravers for a night of quality music with melodic- techy beats . The production saw an impressive A/V display on the stage, lighting up the dark cavernous space which lent itself perfectly to the techno rhythms being pumped out on the crystal clear soundsystem. By the time L-vis 1990 came on at 11 everyone was primed for the night ahead.

Fake Blood took the reins at around 12, and delivered a driving set which cemented an energy that would continue till the music stopped at 6am. Heavy stabbing electronic and tech-house permeated the room as the A/V show picked up pace to match, and his set was definitely one of the highlights of the evening. After several hours in the main room we thought we better see what else was going on. The second room was hosted by Union on Friday and we caught Breakage unleashing a fury of bass heavy beats with the MC whipping everyone into a frenzy. Miss Dynamite followed and didn’ t drop the tension. I have to say I have never seen her MC live before, and alongside laying down tracks she’s well known on she free styled superbly and had the whole room bouncing.

Things flowed on in a bass-fuelled haze till it came time to catch James Holden in the smaller club Jaks Bar. In contrast to the proportions of the main room the third space offered a lighter and more intimate setting, which was perfect for a deep 4am techno set. Holden live is always a highlight for me and he dropped epic after epic tune marking the end to one of the best 9 hours of underground music I have ever had the pleasure of dancing too. 6am saw closing time and a hoard of wreck heads were left to try and figure out where they lived.

We weren’t up that early on Saturday, but the afternoon was still like a ghost town, as was Sunday. Fair enough many were sleeping off the night before, but on Sunday we must have been part of only a group of about 30 that were out in time to see Justin Robertson at 5pm. The problem with this was that the most of the action in the day was still based in the main arena, a huge dark space that needed a couple of hundred ravers to create an atmosphere. Using one of the bars to make this a proper daytime rave up rather than trying to force us into a nightime mode may have been a better approach, that said, I’m sure it would have been a very different story if people had actually dragged themselves from their chalets.

Another downside of the ghost town days was the lack of facilities, for those that didn’t have a kitchen like us the only place to go out and eat was either a Costa or a Burger King, and the only offer for a beer on Saturday afternoon outside of the hotel was the sports bar, which had the football on so loud it pretty much killed my happy music buzz from the night before. That said, Dalston Superstore hosted a pool party in splashworld, laying down tech-house grooves whilst the brave played in the wavepool and waterslides…we didn’t come prepared for swimming else this would have been a definite highlight (note for next year).#

Back to the music though, and once everyone dragged themselves out on Saturday things picked up exactly where they left off, pure electronic joy. Saturday was all about the main room. Matt Walsh eased us back in with some disco-twinged tech-house before Riton stepped things up several notches.  Again Riton live was first for me and he was nothing short of superb, another firm highlight of the weekend. Bugged out favourite Erol Alkan stepped up next and the room erupted when he played his remix of Metronomy.

Next saw a live PA from Inner City which was wonderfully nostalgic and helped to break the pace of the driving kicks. Of course this didn’t last for long. 2ManyDJ’s were following. I was really hoping to see something new from the Soulwax brothers. After seeing them play at a whole host of festivals last year I always loved their sets, but I pretty much knew all their tricks by heart. I wasn’t disappointed though, gone were the Nirvana mash ups and Gossip remixes and we were instead treated to a proper heavy techno set, still jammed with tricks and cuts which left everyone going bonkers.

Normally this would be hard to match, but the legendary Green Velvet followed. It was quite simply incredible, particularly when he dropped his headphones into the mic jack and did a live rendition on La La land through them. It was a clubbing highlight that will be engrained in my mind forever. How to end the night after that? Another legend, Kevin Saunderson. It doesn’t get better than that.

Sunday didn’t get really going until later in the evening, although there were some good grooves being laid down by both Matt Walsh Dan Beaumont in the smaller Bugged Out room during the afternoon .  As the evening drew in an the venues came to life Eats Everything caught our ears in the main room, before Claude Von Stroke ensured that just because this was the third day on it, doesn’t mean that things are going to be any less unrelenting and he played a crafted set of quality techno.

By half ten it was back into the more intimate Jaks to see Rob Da Bank, who did a brilliant job of bringing his fun-time party fun to the fore whilst still giving a nod to the heavier feel of the weekender and everyone was grinning as he dropped some party classics. The weekend was wrapped up by Andrew Weatherall and Ivan Smagge, but by this point I was fighting fatigue and had to drag myself wearily back to my hotel.

We have to give a Hats Off to Bugged Out, as an inaugural event they got most things right. Ultimately it’s the line up choice that makes any event, and all the choices were right. A selection  of some of the finest electronic artists on the planet all lined up in a great venue with quality production to boot.

Let’s hope there’s another one next year.