SONIC BOOM XL, 13 MAY 2016
With Digital Mystikz, Goth-Trad, Kromestar, Las & Mikael, Egoless, Gomes and Brutuzz. Hosted by Atactic & Drew.
Sonic Boom XL (photo by Rein Kooyman)
Sonic Boom, Brutuzz’s infamous dubstep event, never ceases to amaze with its quality line-ups. But when the line-up for the ‘XL Edition’ was revealed, even we were taken aback in disbelief. It’s not often we experience a dance with as many artists at this stature — so we immediately saved the date and cleared schedules to attend. The event provided opportunity to both celebrate a decade of dubstep in the Netherlands and adventure, once again, to Amsterdam.
As anticipation built, we knew we wouldn’t be celebrating the 10 year milestone alone: the Dutch dubstep community were joining together for one of the biggest line-ups we’ve ever seen in the Netherlands. As is often required for events of this stature, we overheard stories of people making the international pilgrimage to fly over and have a skank at the mighty Melkweg…
When we arrived at the venue, shortly after it opened its doors, we noticed we weren’t the only ones who had made an effort to arrive early. There was a massive line in front of the venue and the dancefloor was already full — remember kids: heads come early! It was amazing to see the community in full communion awaiting the bassweight storm that was about to hit.
Las & Mikael (photo by Rein Kooyman)
Las & Mikael opening the night was a great choice from Sonic Boom; with the duo bringing a Scandinavian formula to the dubstep sound we’ve long waited to witness. The two SYSTEM and INNAMIND artists were unlikely to disappoint with the amount of heat they were carrying and, as to be expected, the duo dropped an amazing mix of un/released, forthcoming and unheard music. Their set actually set the groove that would follow throughout; as the day outside started turning into dusk.
We heard classic tunes like Dem Break, Your Eyes, Pirates, Farout and of course Travelling — with all forming highlights along with our personal favourite Wada VIP (an exciting version of the already banging original). Both producers smiled all the way through their set, with the crowd dancing and everyone starting off as they meant to continue!
Egoless (photo by Rein Kooyman)
After experiencing the live broadcast of FKOF fam EGOLESS’ performance at BassWeight Moscow, we were stoked for the producer’s debut set in the Netherlands. Not to place too much pressure on the musician — but we were all expecting something truly mind-blowing. EGOLESS is one of the most exciting, dedicated and interesting producers around at the moment, releasing tune after tune (on truly superb imprints like ZamZam Sounds, SYSTEM and Scotch Bonnet — to name a few). Let’s not forget about the tonnes of unreleased material too, which he somehow dubs in and out of his live mix in a near-effortless approach to the performance.
We know the producer for teasing the crowd, showcasing his bag of seemingly never-ending VIPs. We can be relatively short about it: EGOLESS’ debut performance in the Netherlands was almost a stand-alone session. How crazy does this sound? The way he wildly mixes (pun intended) dancing, passion and intensity together is simply out of this world. Every jam played received a large response from the audience, turning the dance inside-out countless times — with MC Atactic handling the hosting duties with aplomb. It is impossible to name individual highlights as the full hour was pure fire, but we can clearly remember an EGOLESS interpretation of a Foamplate dub that hit the audience with full force. Yes, EGOLESS!
Kromestar (photo by Rein Kooyman)
Kromestar opened with an I Love You remix; a different approach from the regular openers we’ve seen before — but an inventive choice nonetheless. His set was a moody one, playing classics and material from his upcoming MCMLXXXII album (and even some Iron Soul bits). The crowd completely lost its mind when Mere Shere VIP, Emperor’s Call (Mere Sher VIP VIP) and his renowned Kalawanji production dropped. The night allowed the MEDi-veteran to play a lot of unheard music, creating an amazing experience where we collectively witnessed the sound, transitions and, ultimately, the signature Kromestar experience. With the steady Brakeman on mic duties, the musician kept the crowd on a vibe ahead of the mighty Digital Mystikz…
Mala (photo by Rein Kooyman)
Mala was ready to strike with his freshly cut dubplates (we were able to smell the fresh acetate from the front row!), while Coki joined in via CDJs. People swept forward to catch the heroes in action and so did we. DMZ destroyed the dance, pushing the system to its limits with what we think was the Rules of the Dance VIP. We were also treated to the killer Iceman from The Bug and Riko Dan by The Bug, the Leng-version of Skeng, Kahn’s Abattoir VIP and Ishan Sound’s Nahmka VIP. As to be expected, the Digital Mystikz set was dubplate galore! Coki played a number of his anthems, rewound as usual; damaging the dance and creating a nostalgic and necessary session from the DMZ founders. Old school vibes to the max!
Coki (photo by Rein Kooyman)
Goth-Trad never fails to amaze us with his groundbreaking music and future-facing sound. He was loaded with freshly cut Wax Alchemy dubplates, showcasing a wide variety of 140bpm material before heading into the more experimental side of the 160bpm realm. Every artist that had played before him was standing behind the Japanese artist, keen to hear the progressive take on the 100% vinyl set.
The man absolutely killed it (as he always does — whether live or DJing), with the crowd responding to both highs and lows of his refreshing sound. The crowd reaction crowd was amazing to experience. It is always great to have Goth-Trad perform in the Netherlands!
BRUTUZZ (photo by Rein Kooyman)
BRUTUZZ & Gomes closed down the party with a 100% vinyl set they’ve been compiling for quite some time. It’s great to see how they were sticking to the format that the sound began with; dubplate culture revisited, basically. The legendary Amsterdam DJs were welcomed with open arms by those attending, simply because they always deliver a set of the highest grade. They’re known for their powerful sets; teasing blends of both classics and the tracks you’ve forgotten about from back in the day. Their ability to read the crowd, anticipate and deliver raw and pure weight is delectable. These true dons really did their job this night!
Sonic Boom XL documented quality, love, unity and beautiful vibes in the dubstep sound. From lighters in the air, dirty rewinds, a hazy smell and beer on your shoes — this was a dance to remember for years to come.
With this said, we’re ready for the next generation of dubstep producers to step into the DJ booth, supported by the legends who have been ruling the dance for over a decade now. This dance was another confirmation of our unconditional love for the sound, and Mala mentioned via Instagram that it was “a seriously killer session”. You know you’ve got a legendary night on your hands when it’s getting the Mala sign off!
Powered by our very own Dutchman BRUTUZZ, we loved every second of Sonic Boom XL. As always, Friday the 13th proved to be a lucky day!
Peace, love and respect.