Drum & Bass

Drum & bass. There are definitely styles of club music it’s easier to slow dance to. But there’s no sound quite as adrenalising, as agrestal and alien, as drum & bass.

The scene has such a long and rich history at Ministry of Sound that someone probably would’ve written a big expensive book about all the legendary nights we’ve had here if anyone present could actually remember them. But such is the way of drum & bass. In the cold light of the morning after, the flashbacks that come to you of skanking, brock-out, wild-eyed, sweating-through-your-hoodie dancefloor tear-ups seem totally ludicrous. But in the moment, as the lasers flare at 3AM, there’s nothing on Earth that makes more sense.

Haywire rolling breaks, molar-rattling sub bass, and the rapid-fire, glossolalia fantasy-chat of rabble-rousing MCs like Skibadee (RIP), Shabba D and Dett have been booming out across our cavernous dancefloors for over three decades. In that time, we’ve welcomed thousands of drum & bass-obsessed ravers from every continent of the world that isn’t made almost entirely of ice, and sent them all packing with gigantic smiles painted across their faces.

They’ve all been drawn towards us at SE1 6DP as if summoned by some kind of breakbeat homing beacon – or perhaps sky-splitting tractor beam – for unmissable parties headlined by drum & bass royalty; DJs and producers like Goldie, Andy C, DJ Fresh, DJ Hype, LTJ Bukem, Fabio, Grooverider and Chase & Status. Then there are the club nights with lineups showcasing the finest, hardest upcoming talent in today’s drum & bass scene. Whether it’s old skool or nu, Ministry always brings the bullets you need to get your gun fingers firing.

So, if you’re in London for the weekend and in the market for some relentless breakneck breakbeat euphoria – preferably somewhere in the 160 to 180 bpm region – look no further than our night club listings page for instant gratification. The chances are we’ll be able to guarantee you some heavy duty exposure to the amen break in return for the price of a ticket. And once you’re in, you can stay till dawn. We keep things rolling till 5, sometimes even 6AM. What you choose to do after that is frankly none of our business.

The mezzanine at Ministry of Sound – which proudly oversees 103, our central room and what we might refer to as an “atrium” if we were pretentious – really comes into its own when drum & bass is the order of the night. From that vantage point, ten feet up in the air, you get a bird’s eye view of the chaos unfurling down below, as kids who weren’t even lusty ideas when Adam F released ‘Circles’ back in 1997 completely lose the run of themselves to the mesmerising, elliptic riff sent stratospheric by PinkPantheress’ breakout hit ‘Break It Off’.

There are of course several light years between that tune and the more extreme peripheries of the drum & bass cinematic universe. Let’s face it: most of the 267 million people who’ve streamed ‘Break It Off’ on Spotify aren’t rushing off to cop the seminal drill & bass releases chucked out by Mung and Plasmalamp in the mid-‘90s. But a broken beat is a broken beat, and a gateway track is a gateway track, whichever avenue of drum & bass that gateway happens to lead you down. You’ll find we have them all covered here at Ministry of Sound.

Obsessed with the urban ruffneck stylings of the hardstep brigade? Here’s a lineup featuring DJ Zinc for your kind attention. Would you chuck your own nan down a well for the chance to go bananas at a sambass night? Check out one of our Latin-American-beats day parties. Do you go absolutely mental for neurofunk? There’s probably something you’ll like happening up in The Loft. Whatever your breakbeat poison, Ministry of Sound has got your back.

The reasons for drum & bass’s enduring popularity aren’t hard to fathom. But they’re made a lot more obvious in a live night club environment. For starters, you don’t tend to get MCs on drum & bass releases any more – but when you’re levitating several feet above a dancefloor at 2AM, suddenly the relentless stream of undiluted id pouring out of an MC’s mouth starts to feel like a divine sermon. And of all the dance music subgenres, drum & bass arguably has the most unmistakable signature smell, because it’s arguably the best at making cool, image-conscious people lose their minds. That fresh sweat feeling just hits different when it’s mingling with the scent of Acqua di Parma, Issey Miyake and J’adore L’Or on the humid air rather than patchouli oil and mud.

So, are you up for a drum & bass party or not? London is the city* that gave drum and bass to the world and Ministry of Sound is London’s most iconic night club. You do the maths.

*Get out of our mentions, Bristol