Notorious for cultivating an innovative combination of pioneering house and techno with truly unique venues—including a Thai restaurant, vintage clothes boutique and ice cream van—Below recently returned to their original Birmingham home at The Rainbow Courtyard to celebrate their 7th birthday in grandiose fashion. Renowned for their Sunday daytime affairs, founders Lee Mcdonald and Adam Shelton conceived Below after several summers spent in Ibiza, opting to turn their focus towards transporting their experiences to their hometown.
Having first transformed The Rainbow Courtyard, a neglected Victorian backstreet boozer, into an unconventional rave den in 2005, the duo once again re-energized the unorthodox and intimate 250-capacity space for 2012. They brought a colourful and tropical feel to the urban-styled courtyard, which was stamped with distinctive graffiti and dotted with an array of trees and plants. Helming the early set, Alex Arnout took hold of the newly refurbished courtyard. Pushing a deep sound for the evening crowd, including his own 2011 track "Vanishing Point," Arnout primed those in attendance nicely.
With house heavy on swing and swagger, Jordan Peak took flight for the late evening slot as (what was visible of) the sun faded away. With the wooden decked floor now congested, Peak sprayed the place in a diverse delivery of low-end bass and playful melodies. Subb-an's arrival brought about a perfect combination of streaming moonlight and darkly uplifting sounds that drenched the glowing courtyard. Commanding the floor effortlessly, the Crosstown Rebels affiliate worked his way through a plump amalgamation of house, techno and glitchy tribal-sounding experimentations that pulverised the floor. As his memorizing re-work of Lana Del Rey's "Blue Jeans" swelled throughout the venue, a forest of hands shot towards the rafters as the vocal echoed out and the entire place lit up.
To bring things to head and play the evening out, One Records boss Adam Shelton stepped up at 1 AM to encapture everything that Below is about—fun, forward-thinking music and creativity, all of which were supremely present throughout the whole night.