Welcome to the first Gang Event ever! – Rooler and Sickmode held their first solo event in collaboration with REBiRTH Events on Saturday. It was a day full of surprises, exciting announcements, brute sets, sick live edits, lots of sweat, and pure happiness. I review Welcome to the Gang and share my experiences as well as the most important announcements of the party with you.
After the Welcome to the Gang tickets were sold out within a few minutes, I was even more pleased to be one of the lucky few to get one. I had expected a few surprises, simply due to the fact that the line-up remained completely hidden until the end. But I didn’t expect such a great party….
Location and organization – the hard facts
Poppodium 013 in Tilburg
013 is located in the heart of the small town of Tilburg and is often used as a concert venue. But not on Saturday, when Rooler and Sickmode turned it into a rawstyle paradise for their gang members.
It was easy to get there by public transport as well as by car. There is a multi-storey car park right next to the venue and Tilburg Central Station is less than 15 minutes walk away.
Foods and drinks
In terms of catering, Welcome to the Gang offered everything you need and know from comparable events. There were enough bars and a wide range of food (Dutch fries, fresh burgers from the grill, toasties, hot dogs, fruit, lollies, crêpes, and water ice).
At this point, I would also like to positively highlight the locker system. I was able to rent a locker for only €2.50. The locker could be opened without a key, but very easily through a link with a mobile phone. They also cared about protecting the ears of the visitors. You could buy earplugs for €4.00 at the bar.
The Gang-Decoration Specials
Of course, Rooler and Sickmode upgraded the location with some funny gang-style items. They set up a life-size „cardboard statue“ of themselves in 013. You could place your face after the statue and let others take pictures (like you know it from zoos or amusement parks). There was also a REBiRTH merch stand where you could buy shirts and other rave equipment.
Rooler and Sickmode also took the opportunity to decorate the main stage. There you could find the two huge emojis that have become a permanent part of their visual brand.
Festival feeling at the mainstage
Equipped with a huge screen, the big stage of 013 was definitely a worthy location for what The Gang and REBiRTH did with it. For once, the sound wasn’t too loud, but the bass was still pressing. Numerous lasers below and above the stage, as well as other light and show effects, provided a spectacular festival feeling. The visual experience on the main stage, however, was only made complete by the visuals on the stage screens, which were perfectly coordinated with the sets. – All in all (even completely sober) a truly ecstatic experience for all senses!
Options to chill in 013
In addition to a large outdoor smoking area with benches, comfortable beanbags in a kind of indoor foyer invited visitors to chill out.
Also very practical: anyone who found the crowd too packed could relax and watch the spectacle from a grandstand. Those who preferred even more space to dance could also party in the Boiler Room, the second stage.
The mystery surrounding the lineup
The special and appealing thing about Welcome to the Gang: Even though Rooler and Sickmode (as they always are) allowed themselves a joke every now and then and let the fans believe that they would release it, after all, the line-up remained secret until the event. There were a few false leads, such as the announcement of Warface’s supposed appearance. But in the end, the only thing that was known beforehand was the set times in a „blacked-out“ timetable.
Personally, I found it really exciting to go to an event with a secret lineup. The excitement was also maintained on-site…. Not only the mysterious music between the sets and Mc Livid’s tips made it exciting, but also the fact that I could speculate ab the next DJ together with friends before and during the event also increased my desire for the acts enormously.
However, during the event, I kept noticing that some visitors knew about the lineup after all. And at some point, I also received a picture of the mainstage timetable. Apparently, someone had leaked the lineup of the main stage. Afterward, Rooler expressed himself visibly annoyed about this on Instagram.
From Euphoric Hardstyle to Uptempo – The sets at the Mainstage
After a pre-recorded classic set and a fifteen-minute green screen meme show created by No Type, the first DJ began to play on the main stage at 3 pm.
The honor of playing the first set of the day went to the Hardstyle legend Atmozfears. In line with his latest release, Atmozfears performed a very hard raw set, which I was not used to seeing from him.
Then D-Block and S-te-fan played, as well as Sefa. For me, these three acts came as a big surprise, because I didn’t expect to see any Euphoric Hardstyle or Frenchcore acts on the line-up.
But this was followed by an artist I had one hundred percent expected. – It was Malice, who incorporated a lot of sick live edits into his set. Mish also gave the audience a real reason to freak out with some edits and remixes. While pink girly unicorn visuals which matched with her outfit were shown at the screen, she remixed songs like „Wannabe“ by the Spice Girls.
All in all, almost all Harder Styles and genres were represented on the main stage that day: from Euphoric Hardstyle to hard-hitting Uptempo. – But of course, the focus was on Xtra-Raw and Rooler, and Sickmodes performances.
The Welcome to the Gang highlights at the mainstage
One of the highlights of the day was the set by the one and only Gang at 7:30 pm. Of course, Rooler and Sickmode gave everything to make their gang go wild on the dancefloor. The two busted out iconic B2B tracks like TOO COLD, TOO HOT, CLUB BANGER etc., with just pure energy. A new collab was also premiered.
As I had expected, the „hosts“ of course also played another solo set afterward, where the focus was more on their own tracks.
Another highlight of Welcome to the Gang was probably the last Aggressive Act (AA) set for an indefinite period of time. Unfortunately, I missed the set, because I was energetically klaplonging at the same time in the Boiler room where Omnya played. However, I was told that you could see the sadness of the three AA members being on stage for the last time for a while. With many old AA tracks, the three Italians reminisced about the old times one last time.
Riot Shift joins Aggressive Records
That The Gang set was followed by another surprise: On the screen behind the stage, it was announced that Riot Shift will become part of Aggressive Records! To celebrate, Riot Shift opened his DYSTOPIA set with an edit of TOO HOT.
Familar atmosphere in the Boiler Room
The Second Stage – the Boiler Room – offered the visitors a completely different experience. The fact that the DJ booth was in the middle of the room and the stage was relatively small created a very familiar atmosphere.
You were always very close to the DJs, could easily chat with them, had a good view of the stage, didn’t lose your friends and – very important for me – had enough space to dance. In addition, I was able to experience the emotions of the DJs and the other visitors directly. The atmosphere in the Boiler Room simply flashed me emotionally, much more than any set on the Mainstage.
The Boiler room provided many newcomers (that you don’t often hear at festivals) a stage. For example, the energetic sets of Savage Squad members like Omnya or Pl4y gave the visitors every reason to klaplong.
My favorite set of the day I actually found randomly at the second stage: Hoping to get something to drink there faster than at the main stage, I stopped by after The Gang’s set. Arriving in the Boiler room, I found out that Malice played a second set in front of an audience of fewer than 20 people. Malice blasted one banger after the other into the speakers and it was clear to me that I couldn’t sit down until the end of the set! The second Malice set had a completely different vibe than his set before on the Mainstage. Although the Boiler Room filled up more and more, the familiar atmosphere remained!
After a brutal uptempo set by Major Conspiracy, Rooler and Sickmode didn’t miss the chance to close the event on the mainstage with an „Endshow“. This essentially consisted of them playing their most successful collab TOO COLD and an Uptempo track again.
Visibly exhausted, speechless but also beaming with joy, they finally thanked the remaining fans once again for the positive feedback on their first own party. However, this year’s edition was not to be the last – Welcome to the Gang comes back: bigger and better! In their closing speech, Rooler and Sickmode made it clear in their usual joking manner that the event will take place again next year.
The visitors who stayed until the end were also rewarded with the news that The Gang will be playing at the REBiRTH Festival mainstage next year.
I definitely didn’t expect the line-up like that. I had hoped for some other Raw DJs. But with my favorite euphoric act Atmozfears and the best uptempo duo at the moment, in my opinion, I still loved the line-up! But I can imagine those, had hoped for 10 hours of Xtra-Raw, were disappointed.
Of course, I had also expected some specials. But I wouldn’t have thought that there would be so many surprises besides the lineup. It felt like, highlight followed highlight. I hardly got to sit down because I didn’t want to leave the stage and miss the program, which definitely speaks for a good party.
I was also very impressed by the overall creative realization of things. Rooler, Sickmode, and REBiRTH had really done a lot to offer the visitors a unique experience.
Although I loved the familiar vibe in the Boiler Room, I found it a pity that the stage remained empty during many sets and the main stage on the other hand was mostly very crowded. For me personally, the main stage was unfortunately too crowded and I would have liked a bit more freedom of movement.
All in all, I still had a lot of fun at Welcome to the Gang and am super happy to have experienced the first Gang event ever. I’m already looking forward to next year! And what about you?