"Drum'n'bass mash-up with personal overtones"
by Tristán White for remotegoat on 07/12/18

It is hard to review such a personal show as "Rave Space", a music and performance piece that is clearly extremely close to creator Will Dickie's heart and which has been three or four years in the making. Without knowing some of the backstory, to the uninitiated it can appear at times self-indulgent, but there is more to this than meets the eye and it deserves respect.

The audience is invited into the so-called Rave Space, a room made out to be an underground drum'n'bass club. We are greeted at the door by the "security", who lend us a laser pen and check that we have our hands stamped with the pentagon symbol we were given when collecting our tickets. The pentagon is clearly of symbolic importance to the performance. A DJ booth (in the form of a pentagon) is in the centre of the floorspace, and the room is surrounded by five speakers, each one represented by five different people close to Dickie's heart - various friends who were prevalent on the party circuit, including his sister Angie who had passed away, and his pastor, among others.

The performance is, in a nutshell, an hour and a half of roots reggae, jungle, drum'n'bass and some chill-out, interspersed with interviews with the five people in question, represented by one side of the pentagon. For example, we would hear a few words spoken by Jamie, someone who would always be "by the DJ booth, nodding", while on ecstasy, and this would then be followed by a few minutes of "Terrorist" by Ray Keith feat. Renegade, a jungle track from the mid 2000s, a period when Dickie clearly did most of his raving at places like Fabric. It was not always clear whether Jamie and the other people referenced in these interviews had also passed on, though I guess it is not relevant: the whole underground party scene has somewhat died since in the past decade (Dickie himself says he has not been back to Fabric since it reopened) so since these people are part of the scene, their words are still poignant even if they have not all actually passed from this life.

Kudos should go out to the fact that Dickie does mix in the audio samples live with the music, ie has not relied on a pre-recorded mix which would be far easier though obviously a lot less authentic, especially as all the audience members can clearly watch Dickie at work. The show eventually comes to a climax with Dickie removing his clothes while audience members are encouraged to point their laser pens at his naked torso, followed by some overtone singing. Since there are signs before you go in warning that there may be nudity, I don't feel that this is a spoiler of any sort.

One thing to notice is that the music is loud, very loud. Earplugs are available for free at the makeshift bar in the Rave Space, so if you are concerned about your hearing it is well worth availing yourself of these earplugs or bringing your own.

It is always hard to review deeply personal pieces. The references connecting ravers' drug-fuelled ecstasy with spiritual religious ecstasy are clear, though this is nothing new. Since it is not possible to connect to the five people interviewed to an extent anywhere near approaching the writer's own proximity to them, one can only really approach it from a distance, as a curious mash-up of poetry, spoken word and decent dance music. It was fun, but I'd have rather been at an actual rave. Which is perhaps why the final twenty minutes is just this, the music without the interpolated interviews and samples, which rounded off the evening nicely.

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