It was back in 2014 when my heart was filled with adoration for Skream. Back in the Sheffield days where hundreds of people would party in a house with multiple ‘rooms’ with sound systems bigger than most official venues. He’d played at a crazy club called Fez that was so notoriously sweaty it would rain off the ceiling and Heidi used an umbrella to cover the decks. So you can picture what the afterparty looked like.
I’d been to a few events like this. They’d often be the same, same but different. Student DJs looking to carve their way into the mainstream whilst loosely managing a degree they had no interest in. Until then, I’d heard of Skream but that was about it. I left in awe. Strolling back at 6 am recounting everything that had just happened between the group. He deserves every bit of credit he gets – if not more. So was it the same at The Beams for Skreamizm?
There are many things I can’t compare to a tightly packed student house after party, one of the most glaringly obvious factors being that we were in a gigantic warehouse setup spread across three spaces.
But let’s address a similarity. There’s a collective individuality that creates a sense of belonging between fans at these events. What might stand out on a pleasant walk through the countryside is part of the uniform here.
The Beams cowers beneath the majestically terrifying Tate & Lyle Sugar behemoth, like a beaten chocolate factory and Charlie actually lived in a warehouse.
Inside is a prison escapee’s worst nightmare – but a partygoers heaven. I can only describe it as being caught in a fast-cut video, with literal beams of light blinding you in every direction you face acting as the transitions. But it’s not always relentless, it peaks and troughs along with the sets, creating a blissful whirlwind of the senses that has you almost unaware of your surroundings yet hyper-aware of the people at the same time.
Space Two was rammed, but TikTok songs started thumping from the speakers so we left and spent most of the day in Space One.
In there we found Octave One, who are clearly heroic performers. They won the prize for most Shazam’s out at a given time. Their fellow DJs and producers watch in awe from behind the decks and they’re proudly complemented by some crazed dancer throwing more shapes than an angry toddler at nursery.
Partiboi69 was a classic. Always somehow cranking the energy levels to 11 when you thought it was impossible. The man frightens me in the same way turbulence does. You’re shitting your pants, but a perverse part of you wants it to carry on (maybe even get a little more extreme) because it’s actually quite fun and a great story to tell.
Which drives us into our parking bay to stand and relive our seven-year-old memory under the spotlight – Skream. It was how I remembered it. Exactly. The tunes were different, but the energy and commitment were the same. Hunched over the decks like a frantic scientist desperately turning the dials to avoid a colossal meltdown and showing no strain under the pressure of hundreds of fans eagerly awaiting each track.
His respectful character spills out of the speakers and floods over the crowd in a way that someone else playing precisely the same records in exactly the same style would still be missing.
Like Anton Ego in Ratatouille, time went in reverse and I was stood back in that sweat-filled house in Sheffield for a second until another sword of light snapped me back.
You can always find these pockets of incredible talent and good times, don’t always follow the crowd – you might have the time of your life.