12 December 2005


The basic concept behind Bristol's new Dubloaded event is to take all the elements of the original Subloaded (quality dubstep and grime selection with a weighty soundsystem to do it justice) but scale it down as a regular monthly thing, with a few more traditional dub, dancehall and jungle elements to draw new punters and hopefully build a lasting fanbase for this sound. On the strength of last night's second outing, this tactic seems to be working. The party went off, although I noticed that once again nobody seemed to be taking any photos. I'm trying to report on this scene as best I can, but if there's one thing I'm totally useless at it's taking pictures in these semi-darkened rooms. I'd like to have a few images to illustrate these little write-ups, but I need help from a decent photographer. I'm looking for someone who's attending all the same sort of events as me, who happens to have a decent digital camera and a bit of technique, who can e-mail me a few good shots within 24 hours. Anyone out there think they fit the bill? If so, gimme a shout. Anyway, onto the muzik...

back-to-back with Wedge was a real shocker. I had no idea these guys were sitting on so much strong, original material. Apart from Shackleton's "Limb By Limb", I don't think I recognised any of the other tunes they played during their hour behind the decks. Wedge's dubplate selection in particular had me drooling for the cd-r he's been promising me for a while, and he's definitely a producer to watch out for next year. I was really hoping to hear 'Blim's massive "Cheat I" over a soundsystem, but unfortunately he'd given away all his test pressings and didn't have any remaining copies with him! (these guys play out strictly on vinyl/acetate). Maybe next time....(and please let there be a 'next time' for these guys very soon!)

Next up was Rinse FM's Chef (so called presumably due to his similarity to the South Park character, rather than his culinary skills?!), a hugely respected DJ in London, and last night he showed the Bristol crowd why, cooking up a ferocious set that provided a perfect balance between the familiar and the jaw-droppingly unfamiliar. Highlights for me included the really long transition between Skream's "Lightening Dub" and "Pop Pop" by Vex'd, and the way he had the riddim from Macabre Unit's "Lift Off" underneath Coki's "Officer" giving that track such a different sense of momentum ("Officer" got rewound about five times during the night) plus several incredibly sick new dubs by God Knows Who? I had several more of those "what the FUCK am I listening too?!" moments, for sure. Chef was undoubtedly the star of the night. All you night-owls, Aussie dubheads and Kiwi steppers out there can catch his Rinse show on Sunday nights from 1-3am GMT, or download this recent show from last month, featuring a special guest appearance from Skream!

Then Chef handed the cans to Loefah who, presumably still buzzing from his retro-JA selection in the bar earlier, kicked-off with "Ring The Alarm" by Tenor Saw and Buju Banton, which is for me a particular favourite vintage Dancehall cut. But from there on in it was strictly old skool 'propa' jungle. I'm terrible at ID'ing this sort of stuff...quite a few things I recognised from old mixtapes but couldn't tell you what or by who. My man Tom aka Peverlist came on next winding up the junglist pressure even further. To look at him, so neat and bespectacled, you'd think Tom would be playing some really brainy abstract electronica or something, but no...hardcore badbwoy vibes all the way. And for someone who claims to hate DJing, he managed to keep his shit cool despite having Chef, Loefah and Pinch standing over him watching his every move. I would've crumbled into a fucking pile of rubble under their overly-attentive gaze! Fair play, mate...fair bloody play.

One thing I noticed last time I watched Tom in action, is that you'll never see Pinch quite so hyperactive, nor for that matter will you see the dreadlocked, imposing figure of Sgt. Pokes quite so animated, or Loefah with such a huge grin on his face as when the jungle riddims are being played. When they're spinning dubstep the vibe is really concentrated and intense....it's almost like they're as curious and shocked by this 'thing' they've created as we are. Jungle is where they let their hair down and party, cos for most of these guys it's their first love. Probably the reason why Plasticman, despite emerging from the same general scene, has such a different sound and attitude is due to the fact that his only influence is Garage.

It was a great night all round, and really busy too! As a regular home for the local dubstep community,this venue feels about right in terms of size and location (for now!). Speaking of community, this is probably the final dubstep related event I'll attend in 2005, and so it was fitting that just about everyone I've come to know this year on the local scene was present (with the notable exception of Blazey who was ill - get well soon, mate - and ThinKing who was at Destructive in London). It was struck home to me just how many new friends I've made recently. This time last year the only person in the whole room I'd even heard of was Loefah (via Rephex's "Grime 2") , yet here I was saying hello and chatting away with all the people mentioned above, plus other regular faces like Sam Atki2, Pete Bubonic, Jack, Ed, Tim 'Dub Boy' etc. I seem to have become involved with the local scene in a way I haven't felt since probably the mid-90s. Despite my advancing years I don't even feel out of place anymore. Oh, and I finally got to have a chat with Henry from Dubstudio as well, concerning the technicalities of cutting dubplates (which I'm still seriously considering doing) so that's another useful contact made! One other thing - Loefah let slip that his album project might not be as dormant as suggested at the Blackdown interview, but he wouldn't elaborate any further cos he reckons I'm a 'journalist' -haha. Martin Blackdown is a real journalist and I'm surprised he decided to blog that interview. I appreciate that I probably have a slightly myopic view of the music scene as a whole, but hands down Loefah is one of the most important artists to emerge from the underground in the last couple of years - surely Martin could've sold that interview to a magazine?! And if not, then all those magazines need to be put in a big fucking pile and torched, cos they're obviously just a huge waste of trees. Fuck 'em. If you wanna know what's going on with innovative new music, just keep checking my links bar...