Krys, in his role as Forensics, then played an hour of breakstep 'oldies' (ie, stuff that came out last year) in the front room. Actually he also played the Mystikz' latest anthem "Haunted", but for some reason it was jumping all over the place. Must've been the sub-vibrations. Or maybe some fluff on the needle. For reasons only known to himself, Krys elected to play everything at +6, which isn't something I'd encourage myself, but I was interested to note that there were actually about five blokes, who I didn't recognise, dancing enthusiastically for most of it, although they gradually drifted away towards the end. To be honest Krys was a bit off-form, locked in a losing battle with the turntables, and had virtually lost interest himself by that point. At least his two-hour guest slot on Sub FM went well, apparently, and let's not forget that Krys is king of the download mix - his latest Dubstep mix #15 is available here. But I was horrified to discover, whilst browsing through the contents of his record bag, that Krys doesn't put his records back in their sleeves! There they were, unprotected, all scuffing against each other. I pulled out his unsheathed copy of DMZ 002 and admonished him for his lack of care for such a sacred platter. More on Krys shortly...
Decks: Two , Forensics: Nil
Around this point I was introduced to Werk Discs supremo Darren, who seems like a jolly nice chap, and we had quite a long discussion on the weighty musical topics of the day. There's a fresh batch of Werk releases immanent, but more on that another time. Next up was his co-Werker Po Ski, armed with Final Scratch and (so he claims) his entire music collection inside his laptop. With such a broad selection of music at his instant disposal, its no surprise that his set veered wildly through dancehall, Analord, unfamiliar vocal 'grime' excursions, and loads of old skool d'n'b classics - first time I've heard "Renegade Snares" in a club for years. Incidentaly, Po Ski is also Mr. Lizard, responsible for side A of "Grim Dubs Vol.4".
Scratch magic from Po Ski
Then it was a swift trot over to the main room for Monkey Steak's set. But I did manage to catch the last ten minutes of DJ Derek, which was frankly bizarre. The guy looks ancient, like your grandad, smartly dressed in shirt, tie and tweed waistcoat, yet spinning reggae and dancehall to a highly appreciative crowd. The best bit was his mic technique, though. The guy sounds like a fucking Dalek. I was laughing about it but then suddenly thought "hang on, maybe the poor bloke's got throat cancer or something". Thankfully, this doesn't appear to be the case.
Generation gap: Monkey Steak preparing to take over from DJ Derek
Perhaps to ensure a smooth transition, Monkey Steak kicked-off with a couple of dancehall-inspired numbers, followed by "Lighthouse Dub", which is the nearest they've come to producing a straight dubstep tune. The first time I heard it I was wondering where all the edits had gone ("we were too stoned to bother" explained Hanuman). Despite the hyper-edited convolutions of Atki2's recent output, as a team, this was surely the most rhythmically incisive performance I've heard yet. As the set gained momentum I was struck by a new muscular groove, with sharp electro-flavoured drum sounds, particularly the vicious snare, accompanied by Loefah-like shuddering bass-quakes, Wileyesque accordion riffs and a kaleidoscope of hardcore vibes that reached a peak of intensity around the thirty minute mark. Monkey Steak are still a couple of parasitic leaches, clinging on to the leathery rump of the underground, sucking out all the tastiest, most nutritious morsels and mutating their DNA into new complex patterns, but now the realisation dawns that they're not just an interesting concept, but a serious dancefloor proposition in their own right.
Ruffnek Kings: Atki2 & Hanuman
Their set escalated (or degenerated, depending on your point of view) into full-on neo-junglist mayhem, but for me it was the 140bpm stuff around the 20-40 minute mark that really hit the spot. It's got the riff-based energy of grime, its striving for the sonic weight of dubstep, but still with enough detailed twists and turns to appeal to the electronica community at large. Frankly, I don't see how they can fail.
Too many djs: DJ Derek, Atki2, Hanuman, Darren
It was 2am by the time Monkey Steak closed-up their laptops, but I was actually still up for the final hour with Actress (which is Darren and Po Ski). But then along came Krys offering me a puff on his spliff, which stank like shit. For some reason, possibly politeness, I accepted, and inhaled deeply on the foul, noxious thing. Within about five minutes I was feeling dizzy, nauseous and confused. God knows what the hell he was smoking, but there should be a law against it. Feeling utterly fucked out of my mind, I said my hasty goodbyes and staggered out. Seems like I wasn't the only one affected though - as I passed an ashen-faced Krys on the way out, he was muttering something about "the spliff of doom". Mate, you gotta give that shit up...