EXIT is one of those nights that you go to for the music and the people (and the lollipops). It’s one of those nights you realise the bouncers are actually really great people, doing a really terrible job (standing outside for hours? Fun…). The music makes you wave your arms in the air and the hairs on your neck stand up. And they give out stickers on arrival - it’s like getting a party bag before it even begins.
I arrived just as Kingtrix, a second year French and Spanish student, was starting off the night. Good tunes meant the dance floor filled up pretty fast as his set progressed. Considering it was his first gig, he kept calm under pressure and delivered flawless transitions between songs. Van Daag by Bakermat went down a treat, and his part pre-planned, part on the spot set was the perfect mix of spontaneity and control. As someone whose heart is in the bass, it slightly felt like he was toning the mix down towards the end in order to gear up the crowd for the next act.
Ollie Gretton, a regular Beats and Bass DJ, took over; continuing with some fairly laidback tunes - which surprised me, having already checked out his mix on Soundcloud - he delivered a solid 50 minute set, I felt prepped for some Stomp-style sound mixes: think bin lids and clapping… so I went to check out upstairs at The Revelry. Up here there was a relaxed, slightly beach-bar sort of musical vibe which suited the small groups of people gearing up to get on the dance floor. By the time I returned downstairs, Ollie had intensified the sound - melody giving way to more technical, alien sounds. As the thudding bass got progressively louder, the dancing also got wilder, so that by the time Bromley stepped onto the stage, the house was veritably heaving.
Having come down from Bristol to see the preceding acts, Bromley watched Ollie’s last few tunes before taking over. Thoroughly grounded and unassuming given recent and building hype surrounding Bromley (they are managed by Eton Messy), their set bewitched the crowd. Their slick performance turned it from a fairly quiet night at the bar to a big-ass house party. The smoking area deserted and the dance floor full, pitched battles for space were fought out and won by those who could fling their arms around enough to poke someone’s eye out. As a huge fan of their stripped back single Girlfriend, I was thrilled to hear it in situ, and went a little mental on the dancefloor. A great party track, it combines lighter sounds that make it feel quite accessible. With a focus throughout their set on the snares and wobbles rather than the thumping bass lines you would associate with deeper house and garage, there was a certain purity to the mixes; an absence of layering, and a greater focus on the individual sounds themselves meant they weren’t all competing with each other (whereas sometimes, you might feel assaulted by a wall of drums and sound). It was a happy crowd that looked on as the two switched seamlessly, showing off their individual talent, and collaborative mixing.
As I was lucky enough to secure an interview with Bromley just after they finished their set, I missed the start of Cuzo; he carried on the party deep into the night, and it is testament to his skill that one half of Bromley (who didn’t have work at 9 o’clock the next day) was spotted doing a little skank in the crowd later on. After a last blast of dancing, I’m ashamed to admit I faded out before the lights came up, but I returned home feeling elated and happy. Ready to enjoy my 2.30 am bowl of rice and soy sauce, I feverishly pondered just what made the night so special.
It is fair to say this is definitely not your average night; breaking names and local acts create an atmosphere of excitement and intrigue, as they are accessible and down to earth. It feels very intimate. Its personal and fun. Its definitely something I will go to again, and I hope you will check it out.