“I would love to make it an annual event. I am arrogant enough to say that there was no one else that was going to open this stadium. I wasn’t going to let Coldplay open this building it’s mine! But I’m not arrogant enough to believe I’ll be allowed to play it every year… “
Used as a proof of concept for large scale gigs at the Amex, there was a lot riding on this year’s Big Beach Boutique. Hearing glowing reports from the Friday night we headed down to meet the man himself and join in the party.
Watching Jaguar Skills from the top of the stands it was clear the party was well underway as more and more people streamed in. In his trademark style, Jag Skills switched flawlessly from video game music to dubstep with everything else in-between. Playing some of the heaviest bass tracks of the day it was a shame he was on so early. With impressively quick equipment changeovers DJ Fresh was soon in charge of the decks. Dispensing most of his big tunes fairly early on, the second half of his set was more house focused than his d&b and dubstep roots would have hinted. He did however end on a more familiar d&b note with ‘Hot Right Now’. Fitting right into the unwritten house theme of the day Annie Mac played a blinder but seemed an odd choice to follow Fresh considering her lighter style. Nero’s slot featured a healthy chunk of own brand, testament to how many bangers they’ve penned – ‘Me & You’ sounded massive while the many mashups and acapellas brought some freshness to familiar tunes.
While the rain caused some of the crowd to head up into the stands it didn’t take much more than FBS walking on stage to bring everyone flooding back out on to the pitch. Chatting with him earlier he was relaxed and happy with how the previous night’s outing had gone – his biggest fears of there not being a “vibe in the stadium” and how the space would handle the sound were unfounded. The enormous stage/visual setup lining the entire length of the pitch was one of the most impressive ever seen – especially when the lasers and pyrotechnics came out to play. Visually it would be hard for the next band to compete. ‘Bird of Prey’ and ‘Fucking in Heaven’ were highlights.
Another interesting note was FBS’s apparent support for the hacktivist group Anonymous, appearing on the balcony in the afternoon sporting the mask that has become the groups public face and animations of their artwork in the visuals of his set.
As far as this being the test case for staging concerts, as an attendee it was a total success. Venue teething issues such as the (frankly unfair) bar wait (1.5 hours at points) can be ironed out before the next large event. Venue wise it’s an upgrade from the beach in respect of the stadium allowing for the to be more accurately controlled, plus everyone present had a clear view of the stage. Lets hope all of the powers that be agree on the success so that Brighton can finally boast a decent large-scale music venue. So has the BBB found a new home at the Amex? “We’ve probably proved that you can have gigs in this stadium, I think the police and council will let it be used as a concert venue over the summer months.”
Picture courtesy of Apergee
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