Intrigue’s 14th Birthday at Thekla, Bristol

Fourteenth birthdays are usually a letdown. Coming way before the memorable eighteenth and even before the sweet sixteen, the fourteenth usually blurs into the ever growing list. Intrigue’s fourteenth, however, was an exception to the rule, an amalgamation of great music and good planning that resulted in a truly memorable night.

It’s first worth mentioning why it is the drum & bass aficionados at Intrigue that keep going back to the Bristol nightclub Thekla: it just works so well. The main room, very ably provided in the sound department, with its exposed pipes and fans. However, it’s the noticeably nautical feel that adds immeasurably to the atmosphere. This atmosphere was buoyed by Intrigue’s sensible decision to resist overselling the night, something other promoters should take head of. This meant the sell-out crowd was happy and friendly, rather than agitated and aggressive, which can happen at this type of night.


Fabio did a fantastic job of warming up the crowd if you can safely describe it as such for a DJ of his reputation. The well-established combination of soulful melodies and thumping basslines were expertly mapped out, with a progressive increase in intensity, matched with the Londoner’s own increasingly frequent headbanging and lip syncing. Variety was provided through ample jazzy double-bass lines, providing a more organic feel than the traditional synth. The set’s conclusion, arguably its highpoint, consisted of an extended playout of Total Science’s ‘Walk the Same Lines’, followed by rapturous applause, both for Fabio, and the arrival of Calibre.

This proved to be justified in the ensuing ninety minutes, with an outstanding, albeit surprisingly minimal set. Though the first half an hour consisted of trademark Calibre classical samples, these became increasing scarce as the bass took over, with sounds more associated with dBridge’s Exit Records or Kasra’s Critical labels. This was perhaps because of the choice of MC, DRS, in a combination that worked extremely well. The man-on-the-mic’s most famous hooks were spat out over various tracks, with best reaction to those from ‘Goliath’ and ‘Obsession’: collaborations with Russian Enei. A particular treat came from the spin of DRS and Calibre’s recent release, ‘This Aint Love’, for what would have been a first listen for all but the most astute in the crowd. The night’s highlight came near the musical climax, where, after several songs at frantic pace, DRS turned to the CDJs and wheeled both tracks at the same time to allow he and the crowd to catch their respective breath.

All in all, it was a predictably fantastic effort from Intrigue: you don’t get to celebrate your fourteenth birthday if you do not consistently deliver. We are already looking forward to next year.



  • The night was not oversold so didn’t feel overbusy
  • Quality drum & bass lineup
  • Yet another consistent, well-delivered dance music night from Intrigue


  • The night deserved one more headline artist

inSYNC Rating – 9/10


Tom Evans


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