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Live Music: Hospitality

Drum and bass face-off thrills the fanatics

Live Music: Hospitality

Brixton Academy O2, London SW9

4 Stars

Like so many other black innovations in music drum and bass has been somewhat hijacked, like hip-hop and techno, by white middle-class kids.

That's not to say the black presence is no longer there.

This Hospital Records extravaganza sees DJs performing across the spectrum of the genre, from the classic no-frills sounds of the '90s to the self-consciously clever incorporation of dub-step beats.

The transformation of one of London's best venues is astonishing too. Rally-like banners with the Hospital Records logo drape from the rafters and the action is centred on a hexagonal booth-like stage where the DJs play off one another in a vinyl war.

Each mix-meister is pitted against another in a "vs" standoff more commonly associated with boxing matches. So we see the acclaimed dBridge vs Breakage billed as "extra special billing heavyweight contest," S.P.Y vs Nu:Tone described as a "chessboxing set for the thinking man," TC vs Cyantific as "Tonight's cruiserweight clash" and Metrik vs Sigma as simply "the powerhouses collide."

Top draws though are Camo vs Crooked - "the central European crunch" and Fred V vs Grafix - "Westcountry welterweights" - not to mention a "clash of the titans" with "top-tier super heavyweights" High Contrast vs London Elektricity.

Not that the night particularly needed it but there are two other smaller stages dotted around on different floors of the venue. Yet the extra stages may well have served as a blessed relief for those wishing to escape the intensity of it all.

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