The Rainbow Venues has been at the heart of the underground dance scene in the Midlands for years now. And as such it is hard to over state the importance of the ever evolving, sprawling venue complex. As well as a series of killer events, one offs and regular promotions throughout the year, a firm fixture on the calendar for anyone within a hundred miles or more is the Chapter Festival. Now up to Instalment XIII, in 2017 it once again surpassed itself with a dizzyingly diverse spread of sounds.
In all, they were spread across no fewer than nine different and diverse stages with big brands like Apollonia and Drumcode heading their own arenas, as well as a healthy injection of local promotions also adding their own sonic knowledge. Thankfully, this year the sun shone and baked all areas in warming rays. As soon as we arrived, the place was already vibrating with good music and happy people and a real sense of excitement hung in the air.
After a pair of residents from the Leftooft take over of Blackbox impressed us, local man done good, Mark E stepped up. Known as a real master of the edits he wooed us with dreamlike fusion of house and more textured techno and electro cuts and it got the whole room sweaty and locked in for the duration.
Elsewhere the Garden was filling up nicely with some more sin kissed sounds from Tektu residents, but we couldn’t stay away from the Blackbox long and it was Running Back label boss Gerd Jansen who really sucked us in. His typically eclectic set was filled with effortless blends between house, disco and electro, with acid chucked in as well as the odd curveball. When the likeable German dropped French house classic ‘Intro’ by Fred Falke and Alan Brake, it got people punching the air, grinning from ear to ear and whooping at the drop.
The same up close and personal space was later taken over by Midland. His own cuts and plenty more corrugated bass, house and techno cuts piled on the pressure to an ever more beat hungry crowd and they lapped up his every tight mix. In equally intimate surrounds in the Tektu garden was East End Dubs, a lover of minimal house and tech who fluidly serve up silky grooves that really got under everyone’s skin, but the highlight of the whole affair was The Black Madonna.
The Chicago based American and Smart Bar artistic director is hotter than anyone right now and she really shoed why with a fearless blend of disco, house, anthemic cuts of tongue in cheek surprises. She was as into her own set awn anyone, punching the air and beaming whenever she looked up. It made for lots of magical moments that will stick long in the memory, and was just another perfect part of this well curated, expertly pulled off festival.