The dance music community the length and breadth of the country groaned a collective sigh of dismay when it was announced that The Rainbow Venues was to have its licence permanently revoked at the start of 2018. It was happening again. Nightlife under siege from the authorities following a drug-related death. The public protests and rally of support from industry figures fell on deaf ears. The police and council pulled rank as a show of defiance - or damage limitation. And Birmingham’s nightlife was dealt a blow. Fast-forward to today. Digbeth is once again rejuvenated. From the ashes of the Rainbow Venue has risen The Mill.
About the Venue
Formed of three unique event spaces, the 1,700 capacity live music, exhibit and club venue fills a gaping void in Birmingham’s late night landscape. The Warehouse is the expansive main room. As the name infers, this 1,300 person space embodies a rugged, industrial aesthetic. Complete with mezzanine level for added authenticity, the room features high ceilings and distinct brickwork. An elongated bar runs the length of the right wall, but looks aside, it’s the technical spec which really deserves our attention. Powered by D&B Audiotecknik, in full swing the soundsystem takes hold of your body. Naturally, the booth itself boasts industry standard The high-spec lighting and the fact that interchangeable backdrops can be deployed, means that the space is equally adept at lending itself to fashion shows, a secret cinema location or a corporate function as much as a club night. Though, we know what our preference is.
Next door, the 400 capacity club room known affectionately as The Blackbox would be enough to be considered a venue in its own right - and has a legion of fans to show for it. Its low ceilings give it a far more intimate experience than its larger neighbour. The ceiling is fitted out with minimal strip lighting, making this the perfect venue for underground house music - giving it a real basement vibe. Then we come to those iconic Void Acoustic speakers - capable of rippin’ up any dancefloor.
Finally, the Roof Garden is a communal area of solitude accessible by both its counterparts. Sitting in the shadow of the area’s recognisable railway arch, the rooftop provides panoramic views of the city’s skyline as well as being a great place to catch a fresh breath of air. By day, it’s even the ideal suntrap - perfect for pop-up BBQs and some alfresco DJ sessions.
What to Expect
Coming up at The Mill, the music programmers have crafted a stellar line-up that has taken-up the flack since the closure in its previous incarnation. Seasoned London promoter ABODE and Percolate both have standout dates, while on the bass front Hospitality and SASASAS are all signed-up. However, we’d be lying if we claimed that we were looking past Saturday 2nd March. Dixon makes a rare pitstop in the UK’s second city, playing at extended three hour set on a line-up that is Innervisions in everything but name. He’s joined by label fledgling Trikk and LA deep house connoisseur Eagles & Butterflies, for renaissance - the legendary club brand recently resurrected and given a new lease of life by former owner Geoff Oakes.
With the likes of Detroit Swindle, High Contrast, DJ Zinc, Kings of Tomorrow and HAAi having already played there, we think it’s safe to say that The Mill is making all the right noises in stepping-up to be the venue that Birmingham so desperately needs.
First release & student tickets for renaissance: Dixon are on sale now.