Trouble & Bass's Final Party: If the Bassline Breaks the Walls, We're Still Alright

April 24, 2015 -

Milli Encarnacion

Half a decade ago, Drop the Lime released a track called "Sex Sax." It featured a saxaphone riff that glided over a recognizable, four-on-the-floor house beat. Club DJ's swiftly got their hands on the track, and soon, subwoofers at every dance party across the United States were bopping to the music of the Trouble & Bass co-founder. The track was released during the middle of T&B's nine-year tenure – a time when the umbrella term "electronic dance music" was nothing more than a phrase uttered by music blogs, and dubstep was the music du jour.

In reminiscence, the Trouble & Bass label, with its founding crew Curses (AKA Drop the Lime), Star Eyes, AC Slater, and The Captain, were under-the-radar pioneers in the EDM world as we know it today. 12th Planet and Flinch's remix of "Youth Blood" by Little Jinder epitomized the luvstep trend of 2011, and meanwhile, moombahton basked in its rising popularity.

I was a young, underaged college student when Drop the Lime first dropped by Audio Ammo's monthly dance installment, Brain Drain, in Richmond, VA, four or five years ago. Blow-up saxophones were tossed into the expansive crowd, one that welcomed a party where a newer, heavier style of dance music contributed greatly to the ambience.


Pablo Vintura of Audio Ammo's stage pass from one of those memorable Brain Drain parties

When I heard that the beloved Trouble & Bass label was dis-banding, my mind took a brief flashback to these parties, to the time when my interest in dance music was just that – an interest in dance – not just house, not just techno, not just dubstep, but any type of music that could get me moving. As long as it had a thumping bassline, it was fine by me. Lightshows were optional, as were high-tech LED screens.

It had been a while since I last attended any party that featured the label founders and their all-star guest DJ's, which over time included Deathface, 12th Planet, and the like. So I, like hundreds of other fans, jumped at the chance to catch the Trouble & Bass Final Party at Verboten in Brooklyn. The club was the most packed I'd ever seen it that night.

At just 11:45, considered "early" for us nocturnal dwellers, the Control Room was filling up quick. Star Eyes set the audience up with a mix of tech-house and techno bangers that reminded me of her recent sets from Night Bass in Los Angeles. Through fast-paced wobbles and driving beats, the Bass queen primed the crowd for the next DJ to perform, who was quite possibly the most anticipated: AC Slater.

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The signature T&B wobbles continued to slither throughout his set; then, once he played his remix of "Own Up" by Motez, it was as if L.A.'s Night Bass party had hit New York once again. People danced shoulder-to-shoulder, some holding fatheads of T&B's ever-prominent vampire motif. On stage, Star Eyes and friends held up signs with slogans like "MASSSIVE!!!" and "RAVE 2 THE GRAVE," while A-trak and Anna Lunoe, who were just hanging out for the night, looked over the sweaty masses.

AC Slater cleared the decks for special guest, DJ EZ, after which we would all be treated to an unforgettable hour of UK garage. Clouds of '90s-tinged nostalgia hovered over the crowd. All of us inside Verboten's Control Room were hypnotized by the beats at this point, and the club's vibrant video walls and powerful light show factored in a great amount. Plastician kept the groove going into the tail end of a seven-hour house marathon.

Over in the Cabaret Bar, Addison Groove spun tracks that would make any beat-head happy, including old-school hip-hop samples and mash-ups. The artists featured in this room – Groove, Petey Clicks, Tony Quattro, Jubilee, and Doctor Jeep – all provided an impressive complement to the hard-hitting house being played next door. (If you don't believe the underground exists anymore, please take a moment to check out the aforementioned artists.)

We were a vampirical bunch, us nocturnal dwellers, swallowing up all of the melodies and vibes and drinks being slid down our way. And as I mentioned earlier, none of us dance music veterans paid much mind to what genre each musician blasted beyond the decks. In true Trouble & Bass fashion, as long as the music had a thumping bassline, it was fine by us.

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