There is a place, on Bowyer street, in the heart of Birmingham, that by daylight shows to be nothing more than a derelict building. A monument to the history of the city, it melts inconspicuously into the background, never showing its true face until the cowl of night smothers the area and the hordes of mangled, hammered and twisted creatures line up ready to be unleashed through the gates of hell (there were quite literally gates at the entrance). It was within this mob that I found myself that fateful night on the 14th of September in the year of our lord 2017, hoping not to enrage any of the beasts surrounding me who scrambled at the hiss of a Nos cracker like the call to arms of some strange serpentine monster. Soon however, the time came to release the crowd into the bowls of the abyss, known locally as the newly renovated Rainbow venues location: Crane.
As the mass stumbled clumsily down the stone steps into the warehouse, one can’t help but wonder which health and safety genius thought it a good idea to have hundreds of inebriated girls in high heels walk down a flight of steep stone steps, nevertheless the result is wildly entertaining. Once inside the venue the enormity of the space is rather disconcerting, an agoraphobic’s worst nightmare, the warehouse could easily house a Boeing 747 along with a couple of its buddies. The space soon filled up, however, and as soon as Shy FX took the stage, the crowd exploded with a paroxysm of movement, pulsating along to the tumbling beats rolling out of the huge monolithic slabs of speakers.
Starting off with the classics, ‘Original Nuttah’ bursted into the room and set the tone for the entire night, one of rapid-fire beats and machine gun MCing. Following that the old favourites return, ‘Shake ur Body’ and ‘Everyday’ excite the crowd, and interspersing his own songs with jungle remix’s of popular songs like ‘Rude Boy’ and ‘Concrete Jungle’, a song rather appropriately titled for the setting and the genre of the night. One fact quickly became apparent to everybody that was there, Shy FX was not letting up.
Track after track he kept drilling as if mining for gold, hammering down on us with heavy baselines and rolling melodies until the last song, a remix of ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’, a drum and bass classic which revived the crowd and sent them into a mass frenzy before barraging themselves through the gates into the night. Many DJ’s find themselves becoming obsolete within a few years, unable to keep up with the wants and needs of new fans, but even after 25 years since his first record Shy FX is still cemented as one of the best Jungle artists around.
Words by Jamie Raybould
Edited by George Kennedy