20/20 is a fresh new night set up by Ivy Lab, a drum and bass collective consisting of Sabre, Stray and Halogenix. The event promises to bring punters the very best of emerging fusions between drum & bass, hip-hop, footwork and future soul.
Firstly, the event was completely free and the drinks weren't expensive, so already the Ivy Lab guys are in our good books. The night started with drinks and food outside the Silver Bullet and it became clear that 20/20 had chosen the right venue. Smiley bouncers (?!?!), chatty staff, a friendly atmosphere and an intimate dancefloor had us sold from the word go.
The Ivy Lab guys came on first with a nice selection of low tempo bass music and hip-hop, getting things rolling nicely for Soulection songstress/DJ Hannah Faith, whose swagger-infused selection of future-soul and beats were well appreciated by the North London audience, further proof that the Soulection sound is picking up steam in the UK.
For DJ Mag, Hannah summed up what made the night so successful; the curation and line-up were absolutely on-point. Each set perfectly complemented and set up the next and were at exactly the right stages in the night. Hannah's set in particular, as the first proper set where the venue was starting to fill, drew in the audience completely, gradually building a vibe before bringing out the heavier beats. This was a masterclass in how to warm up and draw people onto the floor.
After a great fast-paced selection of footwork and 160 from Deft, the man himself Om Unit stepped up to the stage. There was a clear atmosphere of expectation as Om picked out his first vinyl; when this man plays you can never know what to expect, but nobody was anticipating a full hours classic jungle set, and god, did it go down a treat.
At a night orientated towards the heavier and more future-leaning ends of the dance music spectrum, and with quite a young crowd, it was great to see such a good reaction to a massive part of UK dance's history that has undoubtedly been essential in forming the fledgling genres that 20/20 represent. Massive respect to Om Unit for such a great set and homage to our favourite thing to come out of the '90s (apart from maybe The Fresh Prince!).
A lot of people would be mistaken for thinking that someone as prolific a DJ as Om Unit playing an all-vinyl jungle set would be the highlight of any night, but you'd be wrong. The Ivy Lab trio donned the stage once more, starting with some chilled drum and bass and tunes from their own solo ventures, which got mixed reactions. It was when they started to play some of their new 20/20 bootlegs and ventured into lower tempos that things really started to kick off. After huge reactions from the bootlegs, punters invaded the stage and the night's standout track 'Matchsticks' earned itself a rewind after the crowd attempted to drunkedly chant the bassline.
Then things got a bit lively. The selection of (we assume) unheard Ivy Lab dubs played next can only really be described by the reaction of one punter positioned next to our DJ Mag reviewer: “F*CK ME, THIS IS SICK!”. Such bass faces are rarely seen outside Preston's Bounce by the Ounce, though DJ Mag can assure you this was a classier affair. If these tunes see the light of day anytime soon, you can expect to be hearing about the Ivy Lab crew a whole lot more in the near future. The reactions to these beats were unlike anything we've experienced in a very long time.
A huge thank you to the Ivy Lab guys for putting on this night for free so generously. The organisation and curation of this event was perfection, and we can't wait for round two.