Set atop the Digbeth skyline with an enchanting brutalist backdrop of old factories, rustic warehouses and ageing brickwork, Colours provided the perfect platform for a Claude VonStroke mix masterclass; appearances from a few of Birmingham’s local DJ heroes made way for an overall memorable and fully pumped night on the rafters.
The brain child of Birmingham maestro, Rinse FM regular, and vinyl enthusiast Tom Shorterz, Colours offers something a little different to the bass and garage inspired sounds of prior events like 02:31, adopting a more well-rounded approach to music selection and artist booking criteria.
In the words of Shorterz himself, “even in my other projects I kept seeing the same artists over and over again, I’m a great believer in giving people what they want, but then how do we move forward as a city if that’s all that’s on offer? Colours was a change to book a variety of people who wouldn’t normally play in the city”.
This conscious diversity is plain to see when observing the prior and upcoming line ups on the event’s schedule; from bassline takeovers with DJ Chef and Darkzy, and collaborations with acid house purveyors The Acid Experiment, to DJ MAG sessions with celebrated Scottish selectors Jackmaster and Jasper James, and hometown revisits from the biggest Brum-produced names in underground music like Tommy Vercetti and of course, Low Steppa.
With high expectation in the air from an incredible run of shows, the night itself certainly did deliver; a steady stream of techno bangers, tech house rollers, old school dance classics, and small flourishes of bass and garage ensured a dynamic audio assault that readily maintained, and encouraged, the crowd’s enduring vigour.
An impromptu back to back from Shorterz and Marc Spence proceeded to blow the lid off the already gung-ho terrace. The long-time pals really do own the craft of the B2B, bouncing off each other's flawless track selection, seamlessly mixing alongside equal parts crowd interaction and personal banter.
Man of the night and Dirtybird label owner Claude VonStroke also brought some serious vibes. A man of great presence and stature (in both physical and metaphorical contexts), commanding the crowd with lashings of mechanical drum work, wobbly synth hooks and undulating bass sequences, framed in a rich and prolific Dirtybird back catalogue of tunes; own-made productions like “Who’s Afraid Of Detroit” alongside belters from other label faces Shiba San, Justin Martin and Eats Everything attracted some serious nods from the crowd and booth populous.
While Colours may be a new brand on the block, it’s inception to the Rainbow has been met with curious positivity and a display of concrete potential - no doubt bolstered by the sterling reputation of its chief conceptor Tom Shorterz. The fluid genre policy and shifting collaborations may, on the surface, seem like a risky strategy, but this party is certainly showing no signs of losing momentum. A true success in providing the rave masses with something different, and something new.