Throughout the history of EDM, British names such as Cream, Ministry, Godskitchen and Gatecrasher have stormed the planet, from Ibiza to South America–global brands, all starting in small run-down buildings across this relatively small island. But while many of the big names still continue, with some sadly lost, there are some new kids on the block. Towering above them all is Digital Society, a trance night which this month saw its 6th Birthday celebration.
A combination of a tight-knit, dedicated, enthusiastic group of people, and their ability to attract some of the biggest DJs in the scene, has seen the brand escalate rapidly from nights at small venues in their home city of Leeds, to the 2500 capacity O2 Academy. But despite the imposing Victorian venue and the multi-million pound lighting and sound systems, it certainly doesn’t feel “corporate;” it’s still an honest and friendly club night run by people who care about the only thing that really matters–decent music.
For their 6th Birthday event, the music in question was provided by some of the biggest names on the scene. Divided over two rooms, the main arena and the smaller “Underground” room, trance was very much the order of the night and no matter where you went, at whatever time, belting uplifting trance music was never far away.
Dutch trance legend Markus Schulz was billed as the “headliner,” but it seemed this was only the case on the flyers as his set was given no specific prominence. It was reassuring to see this, as it gave the night a more relaxed and flowing feel, like a good old fashioned UK club night. Once again–this event is about the music, not the names. Preceded by opener Estiva and then Protoculture, we arrived just as Menno de Jong was getting the already packed dancefloor moving. Canadian Max Graham followed, before a UK-exclusive back-to-back set from Lange & Andy Moor.
As Schulz took to the stage, I spent some time in the Underground room, where it happened to be Signum’s turn on the decks, though I couldn’t get close as a sizable crowd of a few hundred was rammed around the DJ booth. It was also nice to see that Enhanced boss Will Holland, who has been instrumental in Digital Society since day one with the brand even seeing an Enhanced sub-label, played in the underground room rather than the main arena–a true testament to the roots of the brand. Back in the main arena, closing off the night were the three John’s–O’Callaghan, Askew and 00 Fleming, all doing what they do best, with things getting a little tougher as the night came to a close.
While the trance scene is welcoming the electro and house-influenced end of the genre with open arms, if you want all out, full-blown euphoric trance, there’s still plenty on offer. Digital Society seem to be a major force for good in this regard, and if their 6th Birthday is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing plenty more years out of them yet.