The Night Kitchen has undoubtedly become a sacred haven for underground music in Sheffield. Recently featured in “The Guardian” as one of the UK’s top ten clubs, the renovated cutlery factory has gradually matured into arguably Sheffield’s finest party location.
With the ever-expanding popularity of the Night Kitchen, the line-ups have inevitably become more substantial. On Friday, the sold out venue welcomed an artist who must feel she is yet to reach the precipice of a career that has already reached dizzy heights- her name “Flava D”.
The page 3 model equivalent of bass music, it is important to note that Flava D is not just a pretty face. She has been an indispensable component in the garage/grime scene for years. Consistently releasing tracks on record label “Butterz”, she has seamlessly crafted her own signature sound in a heavily condensed industry. She has avoided being pigeonholed through nomenclature, refusing to be tied specifically to one genre, shown in her multi-faceted album “More Love” and her most recent hip-hop reboot of “How Deep Is Your Love”.
In her “Rhythm & Gash” remix she not only has a track that consistently gets “reloaded” across every DJ set in the country, it appears that she has now made solid inroads into the mainstream. With further releases such as “Bump & Grind” and the continuing success of early release “In the Dance”, it is a certainty that she will be a bass music mainstay in the coming years. The past year has borne the fruits of her efforts and she is now playing the biggest gigs of her career so far, and selling her very own snap-backs!
With the dark sounds of “Distro” and Sheffield’s very own bassline junkie “Dr Cryptic” also on the bill, the night was gun-finger frenzy from the minute it started to the eventual 6:30am climax. With the minimalistic lighting in Night Kitchen, the music firmly takes the fore and the sound system has notoriety across the Steel City.
Unbeknown to many inside the venue however, Flava D was to play the “graveyard” set of 4:00am until 6:30am as she had an earlier arrangement in Oxford to finish before making her way North. This news was greeted with considerable disappointment in the bustling smokers’ pens outside. To Sheffield’s credit, the late set time changed very little as what only seemed like a handful of “party go-ers” had bailed to beat the sunrise home before her set.
Within the hour of Flava D beginning though, some fatigued onlookers made their way to the exit or the seated areas outside and in. This was no insult to the music on offer, more the fact that 5:00am is rather late for the headliner to start ravaging a dancefloor with hefty basslines after five previous hours of unrelenting beats. Some have the stamina, some don’t.
As expected though, the South London producer tore the dance floor apart with a set that featured an abundance of her own savage productions and tracks from other UK bass varieties. The mixing of bassline bangers from figurehead “DJ Q” and new big hitters in “Conducta”, “Notion” and “Holy Goof” seemed fitting considering the bassline history that continues to pump through the city’s musical veins.
With the near perfect blend of classic garage, grime and bassline, the set passed in a flash with a constant “screw-face” plastered upon every person in the room.
It was high-octane business throughout and at full-time the leggy ravers exited the intimate venue alongside a weary looking Flava D who swiftly entered a taxi.
After Friday night she will always be welcome back in Sheffield- hopefully back at Night Kitchen, in a prime time slot.
Written by: Tom Hargreaves