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Flashback: Rage

Flashback: Rage

The clubs that changed dance music forever<BR>

“Forget ’88 to ’90. Acid house had died by then... this was a new phase,” recalls drum & bass don Fabio on his legendary residency at Heaven’s Thursday night session Rage.

Originally started as a more US-flavoured house night, Rage became an explosive new entity once two South London rave DJs — Fabio & Grooverider — became rulers of the cavernous main room.


The buzz around their residency in Heaven’s Star Bar had already exploded out of its own doors. The smiley rush of acid house had all but faded and Fabio & Grooverider’s mad blends of European rave techno, darker breakbeats, Strictly Rhythm house tracks, alien warehouse beams like LFO’s ‘LFO’ and Detroit classics offered a new, darker path. It was Fabio & Grooverider’s time, and their Rage reign offered a steaming church of pure bastard music like no other in the world.

“This was breakbeat, this was techno, we were breaking new shit out there,” remembers Fabio. “We used to take breakbeats from Masters At Work records or the Bones Breaks — the breakbeat series by Frankie Bones and Lenny Dee — and were speeding them up and mixing them over techno tunes from labels like R&S or Detroit. And people just used to go fuckin’ crazy for it. A lot of people were getting bored of the four-to-the-floor — this was a different format. But let’s get it straight, we didn’t have a clue what were doing — we were just fuckin’ around and doing what felt right.”

Fabio & Grooverider

House purists sneered at the duo’s aggressive, instinctive experimentation but their carte blanche command had an uncontrollable energy of its own. As early darkside tracks like 4 Hero’s ‘Mr Kirk’s Nightmare’ and Lennie De Ice’s ‘We Are I.E.’ emerged as Rage anthems, the club evolved into the spiritual birthplace of the modern drum & bass prototype, with the likes of Doc Scott and 1 Xtra’s Bailey getting lost and inspired there. But it was no closed club. In its heyday, 2,000 ravers of all races and ages were eating up every twisted sound that Rage could throw at them in a sea of mass hysteria. On a freaking school night, no less.

“It was so intense in there that it’s hard to explain,” adds Fabio. “It used to just go off in the most incredible way. It was scary sometimes, it could get quite moody and there was that sort of unpredictable electricity that you’d get at a Celtic Vs Rangers match. You knew it could kick off at any moment, but in a weird way it just added to the intensity.”

A dedicated Rage raver, DJ Storm recalls the night her best friend Kemistry brought her boyfriend to the club and watched his head get blown clean off by sounds he’d never heard before. His name? You might know him as Goldie.

“The night Goldie really ‘got it’, we came back to our flat and he said ‘right, I want to make this music, you’ll be the DJs, we’ll have a label and a club, we’ll make some t-shirts’. That was our dream and that dream became the Metalheadz label,” she remembers. “It sounds really corny but that place changed a lot of peoples’ lives. I’m not sure where we’d be without it. Rage was like a religion. We were all joined by this really emotional feeling that we were experiencing something new.”


Heaven, London
1990 — 1994


Fabio & Grooverider
Colin Faver
Trevor Fung


Grooverider dropping Goldie’s ‘Terminator’ for the first time with the future Metalheadz boss wasted on the floor, or the night Joey Beltram handed Fabio his dubplate. It happened to be called ‘Energy Flash’.


Rufige Kru ‘Terminator’,
Joey Beltram ‘Energy Flash’
Second Phase ‘Mentasm’