This was my second time at Hospital Records‘ spring drum and bass celebration, Hospitality in the Dock, in the heart of central London. With artists such as Metrik, Etherwood and Danny Byrd under this label’s impressive wing, we knew it would be another day to remember.
If you’re a massive fan of drum and bass, you’ve most likely heard of Hospitality and their legendary events, that are rapidly spreading far and wide across the nation. Even on a cold, wet day in late March, ravers from all over, trekked across the country to attend HITD.
Considering the torrential rain, there was a buzz of excitement coursing through the air with fellow ravers everywhere decked out in their Hospital merch and glitter, ready for a welcome onslaught of ground-shaking bass.
In a unique heritage building that was constructed in 1877, London’s Tobacco Dock has recently become the home of TV, music, and corporate events. With empty shop fronts, an underground carpark, and open-roof areas, this location is perfect for those more special, eccentric events.
The first floor of the dock, housed The Great Gallery, a stage geared towards the genre’s heavyweights along with Hospital’s own selection of talented artists. The Little Gallery, also known as the Jungle Jam room, was a smaller, sweaty room with a dance floor packed out with budding junglists, singing along to some classic DnB bangers. On the bottom floor, the underground carpark housed the best of upfront and jump up DnB, with the likes of Break and Killbox playing particularly good sets.
Here are a few of our favourite acts of the day, to give you a taste of the Hospitality experience:
Matt Gresham is the man behind Logistics, a prolific producer, known for his liquid funk and guitar-based DnB. His new album, Hologram, was released on the day of HITD, giving his set a juicy edge that made each drop intriguing. Known for his melodic build-ups and vibrant stylings, his new album showcased soul and groove. My favourite track on the album, ‘Broken Light’ was a real hit with the crowd, bringing melancholic lyrics and a sombre tone to a punchy set. One of the classics that featured was ‘As Sure As Sunrise’ which includes a springtime tone and an atmospheric melody that is the perfect opening to a stunning set. His set also included a track from collaborative album, What I’ve Always Waited For, with his older brother, Nu:Tone. ‘Everlasting Days’ is a vocal-driven banger with an uplifting, almost housey vibe that got the crowd moving magnetically.
By far one of the heaviest sets of the day, Break, a young and exciting producer left our heads spinning with each drop. Known for his crisp breaks, deep sub bass and his defining EMU sampled sounds, his set certainly did not disappoint. After celebrating 10 years of his label in 2016, Break released Ten Years of Symmetry, an album packed full of impressive solo tracks and clever collabs. He has started this year with a stunning remix of Camo & Krooked’s, ‘Last of the Tribe’, a vocally strong tune with a potent drop. Break’s spin on this sick tune, intensifies those kicks and snares, whilst adding a clean-cut sub layer that manages to highlight the original delicacy of Camo & Krooked’s sound. This year, Break will be releasing his 5th solo album, which is due to be released this Autumn. It’s safe to say, we are beyond excited…
Ever since Etherwood released his debut album in 2013, I have been following the career of Lincoln- born, Edward ‘Woody’ Allen, religiously. After the release of his most recent album this year, In Stillness, he announced tour dates for live shows across the UK and Europe. His debut live set on The Little Gallery stage was the perfect end to my HITD experience, with Zara Kershaw even joining him on the stage for his 2015 hit single, ‘Souvenirs’. Each song was rhythmically punctured with stunning chords and intricate vocal melodies that worked in accordance with Woody’s mellifluous guitar playing. Kershaw’s smooth, delicate vocals over punchy kicks and snares, was the perfect finale to a breath-taking performance from Etherwood and his talented band.
And of course, any live performance wouldn’t be complete without an encore. ‘Climbing’, a banging tune from Woody’s latest album, successfully closed the set with heart-felt vocals, ‘I’m not really sure my heart knows/if this is real or just pretend/but I’m pretty sure my mind knows/ the beginning from the end.’ This final song showcased a stunning melody line that was underpinned by classic, liquid drum and bass.
Overall, Hospitality offered a reasonably priced day out, with some top quality acts, and banging sets. Although there were issues surrounding the queues for drink tokens, and beverage choices, stage access for The Great Gallery for all attendees offered a unique perspective of each artist, that truly set this experience apart from previous raves. An old skool feel in the carpark, and speaker systems that offered a rich high-end, and a crisp low-end, truly represented the careful planning, and dedication Hospital Records has for its many followers.
Once again, Hospitality has provided a safe, friendly experience for a crowd of like-minded fans who have a passion for the drum and bass genre, and all it has to offer.
Did you attend Hospitality in the Dock?
Text: Millie Bull & Peter Rowlands
Images: Hospital Records