Brave! Factory, is a 3 year old festival hosted in the Soviet Era, Kiev’s METROBUD Train Depot. Upon our arrival, the first thing that jumped out at us was the vast size of the site. Music was hosted across 6 stages – each of which offered a different aesthetic and vibe. Art installations also provided a welcome alternative for the ravers who required a little respite and downtime.
Having opted for cultural experienced in Kiev on Saturday night/Sunday morning, we arrived on site just before 4 PM. The first act we saw were two of the club’s most renowned residents, Borys & Noizar whom we first discovered through this Crack article in 2017 – one of the very few DJ lists that is worth a read. Their back-to-back was laden with wigged-out minimal techno, and lived up to all expectations, drawing the biggest reactions from the crowd that we saw all evening and receiving a rapturous applause at the end. Any promoters with a penchant for this sound, look no further for your next booking. As day slowly turned to night, Evan Baggs stepped up to the decks and played a set in the same vein as Borys & Noizar, a sound that is synonymous with Closer.
At Cement we caught the second half of Yuri Bardash AKA Youra. His performance was a crazy combination of high energy “hip-hop meets weighty breakbeat rhythms”. It was the perfect antidote, helping to reinvigorate us, and set us up for the remaining hours of the festival having felt sluggish from the long day. Youra’s energy was infectious, the majority of the crowd knew all the lyrics and got very loose, making for what was the main highlight and an inspired bit of programming by the festival’s curators.
After a brief equipment change, the crowd were treated to another high energy performance, this time from Tameko Williams, AKA Detroit In Effect (D.I.E.). This was our first time seeing the Detroit legend and he certainly didn’t disappoint; moving fluidly between tracks and building upon the hype created by Youra with his own MCing. He got the crowd bouncing and very loose, feeding off the energy he was creating. He mixed a few old favourites with plenty of new, high energy tracks – even bringing a new lease to Jeff Mills’ “The Bells”, which you could be forgiven for thinking is overplayed.
Brave! Factory’s most impressive stage was Topka, a huge room in what used to be the Factory’s furnace. It played host to Timur Basha B2B Yone-Ko, and Carlos Souffront before closing out with the bass and percussive heavy minimal house of Rhadoo. It was Rhadoo’s mixing rather than selection that stole the show; often cutting and teasing in different elements before switching tracks. At times, the transitions were so fluid that it was difficult to tell which track was which, however also something that could also be attributed to the limited amount of variation.
As with Noizar & Borys, Anna Haleta was a DJ we had longed to see play for many years, and only more so after her interview with us earlier in the year (follow the link). Rather than match the intensity of D.I.E, she took the BPM down a few notches taking note of the inevitably weary ravers that had been going for +24 HRS. Instead, her set featured plenty of deep cuts, and bass-focused UK techno to slowly wind things down while keeping the crowd engaged. Anna is another DJ to watch, and we cannot wait to see her again in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.
The final act we saw were, Jane Fitz and Carl H on Depo, the same stage that they closed out in 2018. Fitz has become a regular at Closer and it is clear why, her record collection and track selection is second to none. On this occasion she was joined by long-time friend, Carl H, who perfectly matched her record for record. The pair opted for deep tech house, trance, and plenty of rollers to keep the weary ravers going into the after hours. The word on the grapevine is that Noizar & Borys returned to the decks at the Depo, keeping the party going till 12:30 PM!
Brave! Factory’s finest attribute is undoubtedly, its ability to mesh underappreciated, local and international artists with the more established names on the scene. Also, for only being on for 32 hours the program was incredibly diverse. It is rare that promoters of a festival of this size are willing to take the risks of booking the Ghanaian Hiplife of Ata Kak alongside electro pioneer, Model 500, and that is a testament to the self-belief of the programmers, and the Ukranian ravers who fully trust the Closer team’s vision.
Written By: James Acquaye Nortey-Glover and Tom Allman