Mezzanine Oxford Mayday Ball: Oxford Milton Common

Seb Fontaine, Fabio, Grooverider, Norman Jay, Brandon Block and more as Mezzanine hit Oxford...

Ten thousand people, four arenas and enough DJs – Fergie, Seb Fontaine, Fabio, Grooverider, Masterstepz, Goldie, A Man Called Adam etc – to start a small army. Now, where do we start?

Walking from the main arena to the Shake It Up tent the 2 step sounds of urban Britain merge into syncopated synth riffs coming from Paul Van Dyk. UK garage wonderboy Jason Kaye is smashing it up with his blend of boggle beats and sub-bass oscillations. Coupled with the MC’s calls for re-winds on tunes like Tuff Jam’s mix of Sisquo’s ‘Why?’, it makes for an interactive vibe.

Re-entering the Main Arena – light sticks and glowing dummies handed back on the door – it’s clear that Paul Van Dyk is the headline (Paul Oakenfold cancelled due to US commitments) the cyber punks want. He starts of with a selection from his Deviant back-catalogue moving into faves such as ‘For An Angel’. Then, shock horror and mid-drum roll, the sound cuts. For a long ten minutes three thousand ravers look around perplexed they can hear themselves think. The engineers find the glitch and the sound returns to a huge cheer. PVD moves into future music and the brief hiatus is forgotten instantly.

Over in the DJ Arena Goldie follows Boy George – now that should be interesting. Glitterball house mixed into dirty drum’n’bass – hmm… Looking around it looks like Goldie‘s another no-show. Then we remember that the Cannes Film Festival is on and possibly – random guess here – he may have other celebrity commitments. Instead Norman Jay takes the helm. No disappointment there. His good time grooves lift the atmosphere as he moves into old skool drum’n’bass including Origin Unknown’s darkcore classic ‘Valley Of The Shadows’, possibly as a nod to Goldie‘s absence.

Elsewhere there’s all sorts of mischievousness occurring. Brandon Block gurns to the Smirnoff Arena, Kelvin Andrews gets deep in the Red Room and Dreem Teem’s Mikee B bigs up to the nation via Radio One. There’s a load of festivals this summer and the Mezzanine crew kick start the season with this packed event. Judging from this night it looks like summer’s going to be long, hopefully hot and probably very expensive for a lot of people. Better start saving.

Martin Worster