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Review: Carnival, 25th August

Carnival festivities on the dance floor...

Fully aware that DJ Sneak would be pulling in a strong crowd for tonight's Carnival event I arrived prepared for my fair share of arm nudging, toe treading and sweaty shoulder syndrome - not mine but those rubbed onto me... I promise!

I wasn't wrong, well about the crowds at least as I was immediately greeted by a wall of warmth as the Basement was packed with clubbers. However, there was such a happy buzz about the place and I strangely didn't feel like a sardine amongst my tin brothers and was actually able to dance around a bit - and no I was not joining in with this seasons infamous foot shuffle. Having a little mooch about at first I noticed that the mysterious Box room had finally been reopened and was going to be home to Adam Shelton, Pirupa and Ilario Alicante whilst the Basement would see Bones, Shonky, DJ Sneak and MK entertain the masses; not forgetting Departure who hosted the Spektrum for another date.

OK, so Miguel Campbell's absence wasn't too harshly felt as the rest of the line-up pulled some pretty cracking sets out of the bags, especially those featured on the Basement's listing as it was pumping solidly all night long. Catching the end of Shonky's set I immediately entered party mode and for someone who was pretty tired I was busting my best music sway within minutes of being drawn in by his big bass melodies. With Dan Ghenacia to the left of me and Shonky the right (plus DJ Sneak in the booth) the party felt intimate and focused on providing tune after tune to the crowd who were all simultaneously lifting the ceiling with their overzealous arm thrusts. The well known 'house gangster', Sneak could be seen resting against the back of the booth sporting a bandana reading 'I am a house gangster'. In all honesty the term gangster is not often one which I relate to house music but DJ Sneak executes a set in such a rude-boy-esq and fiercely passionate manner it is a fair title for him to own.

Joined by an impressive entourage the booth was heaving with some of Sneak's pals and of course a fair few Sneakettes keen to rub shoulders with the star. It is now that I will metaphorically high five all of last night's booth buddies - in all the rooms, as they were relentless and each stood on their spot firmly from start to finish making many of the crowd a little 'jel'. With a constant head bop on the go Sneak dropped Timberland's rap to the Aaliyah track 'Try Again' as well as Jodeci's hit 'Freek'N'You'. Also incorporating some filthy basslines and gripping keys, the big bass and loud vocals surged through his tracks helping keep the beat and temperature of the room alive. Playing in his famous Jackin house style, Sneak - as expected, worked the crowd and with splashes of soul and hip hop he not only took us back to the old school but also unleashed his innovative sound out of the speakers.

Pulling myself away I went to check out Pirupa in The Box and was met by the echoes of 'let me show you love...' by Romanthony; not as deep as the Basement but the dubby sounds he mixed in flew off of the bright walls of the club's contrasting room and had the room moving with the beat. With a set time which conflicted with DJ Sneak, Pirupa did a great job of getting the crowd to stray the other way and join in with his party. Not wanting to be too innocent in comparison to the dark goings-on of the Basement, Pirupa smashed out Lee Curtiss' hit 'Body Twitch'... naughty, naughty! And Yes - for those who were wondering he did drop his summer hit 'Party Non Stop' and had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands whilst he danced around as happy as Larry. Then Ilario Alicante took over and from half 4 he brought tracks such as 'Schism' by Motor to the dance floor and ensured that the contagious and ridiculously popular foot shuffle remained at bay; the only dance moves being carried out whilst mounted on one of The Box's side were the traditional fist pump and the more acceptable house bounce.

Darting back to the Basement I was lucky enough to catch the end of Sneak's set and watch the headlining act embrace Marc Kinchen aka. MK and nudge fans whilst posing for photos with the lucky few... Thankfully the guy who came armed with a home-made board reading 'Go DJ Sneak!' - which he threw about continuously throughout the set whilst wearing a replica of Sneak's bandana, bagged himself a photo and left a very happy man. Now that MK took over the style changed slightly and became riddled with funk and soul featuring more keys, a little more groove and slow female vocals. He opened with Nice7's record 'Bassline soldiers' - to which he sang along to whilst performing a pretty stella piano hand, and later he dropped Cassius' classic 'The Sound of Violence'.

After partying amongst the hyped up but lovely crowd at Carnival last night I was ready for bed as MK drew the evening to a close, my feet were aching but the parties groove was still very much inside of me. Unfortunately I had to admit defeat but with artists such as Huxley, Djebali and Manu Vulcano on next week's line-up I have plenty of time to party with the Carnival clan...

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