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Rave On Steroids

The most fun I ever had was in a car park in Stoke when I was 14.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

Photo by Russell Haswell.

When I was 14 the most fun I ever had was in a car park in Stoke. It was 1991 and hardcore rave fever gripped the nation. Whenever we could, my friends and I would travel to parties—indoors, outdoors; we didn’t care—and proceed to get ripped on poppers and Ecstasy with hundreds of others while soundsystems pumped out Altern-8 and Shut Up And Dance. Even the Prodigy made sense when you had a stick of Vicks rammed up each nostril. On this occasion, Altern-8 pulled into the car park in a lorry, flung open the back doors and performed a blistering PA. People who’d been waiting an hour in the cold went Radio Rental mental. There’s a legendary recording of that show which has commentary by an awestruck spectator. The best bit is when he goes, “My god, now they’re dancing on the cars! They’re out of control! This is madness! Somebody do something!” We legged it before the police arrived. Then the Criminal Justice Bill came into force and killed the dream. Mainland Europe missed out on the illicit thrills of acid house. The authorities weren’t that bothered and the parties were better organised. A decade on, however, and a new generation of DJs and producers in middle Europe are bored of going to perfect all-night raves and taking amazing drugs with beautiful French girls. They crave danger and excitement and often wonder what it would be like to snort a line of dodgy beige powder and lose control of their bowels in a muddy field. In short, they want old skool hardcore, back-in-the-day UK style. Now, thanks to shady Swiss label B Rave, they’ve got the tunes. B Rave allows anonymous big-name techno producers (like, probably, The Hacker) to release brutal dark acid doom anthems with Hoover basslines and almighty breakdowns. With tracks named “Law Unto Myself”, “Rave On Steroids” and “You Know The Fuckin Score” by blokes calling themselves Asylum Seekers, M25 and Max Hardcore, this is fake nostalgia at its misty-eyed finest. These records capture the simple lunatic essence of early-90s rave but sound so much fiercer. VICE contacted B Rave for more information but they replied: “Get lost. We don’t want scum like you sniffing around. Just get on the dancefloor.” SUBURBAN DWIGHT