Walking down Talbot Street towards Rock City, the anticipation is palpable, writes James Peutherer. Queues line the street as far back as the corner of Clarendon. There are bucket hats and tour shirts aplenty, all touting a cult fanbases commitment to one act – Bad Boy Chiller Crew.
Fresh off the heels of a succession of festival shows including three sets at Leeds Festival and the release of their new EP Charva Anthems, the opportunity to see the Bradford bassline trio in an intimate and enclosed setting is clearly cause for excitement.
The scene at Rock City, as captured by James Peutherer
Once inside, the support takes the form of DJ TheBigBiggie and Nottingham Hip Hop act Gino Bonazzi. As the warm up act, the two clearly have only one thing in mind – to do exactly that and warm the crowd up. TheBigBiggie effortlessly gets the crowd moving as he swans through a plethora of classic bassline tunes, while Gino never gives the crowd a second to breathe as he jumps around the stage to his Drill flavoured back catalogue.
By the time TheBigBiggie and Gino have made way for Bad Boy Chiller Crew DJ and Producer Tactics, donned in "all-black clava", security have already made their way into the middle of the dancefloor to remove an open umbrella being passed about the melee and it’s obvious the crowd are ready for the main event.
"Kane in blue Nike shirt and blue Nike shorts, Clive in a white Lacoste tee and trackies and GK in a white jumper and black joggers – towel wrapped around shoulders"
As GK, Kane and Clive take the stage, the noise of the crowd is deafening and the lights from the hundreds of phone torches are blinding, there’ll be no let up in energy for the next hour and fifteen minutes. The boys have come donning their now famed ‘charva’ designer style – Kane in blue Nike shirt and blue Nike shorts, Clive in a white Lacoste tee and trackies and GK in a white jumper and black joggers – towel wrapped around shoulders.
The trio run through their opening numbers sometimes rapping in unison and sometimes individually – not to miss an opportunity to see the crate of Stella sitting on the decks. Instantly, the group’s connection with their fanbase is obvious. Clive regularly runs across the stage high-fiving the front row and proudly takes his fist to his chest after spotting a fan in a Bradford City shirt. Their tongue-in-cheek swagger has all the chops to back it up as they barely miss a syllable in any of their fast-paced bassline collection. Whilst the sight of this alone is enough to make this a night to remember, the trio have no shortage of surprises for the Nottingham faithful.
The boys proudly announce they’ll be using the show to film a music video and as the camera crew emerges, there are no shortage of people clambering on to shoulders for the chance to write themselves into BBCC folklore. Following this, TheBigBiggie and Gino Bonazzi reappear to join in for the next couple of songs before the opening bars to 450 ring around Rock City. The spark in the crowd reaches its peak as Kane exclaims the words "Drum in a big-boy Merc so I hop the curb, I see them boys in blue so drop to third". Tactics takes the decision to fade the song out for the chorus – which is then carried all the way through by the sold-out Rock City crowd – truly the highlight of the night.
As the apparent final number of the night Free comes to a close, the boys announce they have one final surprise which is soon revealed as DJ-Producer Nathan Dawe strolls onto the stage to lead the crowd through his version of Sweet Female Attitude garage classic Flowers. A perfect ending for a party atmosphere.
Leaving Rock City, it's hard to shake the feeling that Bad Boy Chiller Crew are on an unstoppable rise and after just one night watching the group it's apparent why that is. Their relentless energy, braggadocious Bradford attitude and genuine connection to their fanbase makes the trio a truly special act – especially live.
Written by: James Peutherer
Edited by: Joe Hughes