Dubloaded – Final Fairwell to The Croft Review

The announcement of the imminent closure of The Croft, which has been a hub for the Bristol music scene as a whole for a long time, really is a blow to the community. Luckily it brought about one fantastic silver lining; the revival of Pinch’s legendary dubstep night, Dubloaded. As mentioned in previous posts reviewing nights at The Croft, it really was one of my favourite venues and I can think of no better send off than one of the best nights to have graced the Bristol scene.

I attended the previous ‘last ever dubloaded’ which took place about a year and a half ago and it was one of the best nights of music I have witnessed. So as soon as this night was announced I knew it was a must, especially with the promise of a Bristol all-star line-up with Pokes on hosting duties. The guests for the night were not announced until the day of the event added to the excitement and when they were posted up on Facebook there was no way that anyone could have been disappointed.

I arrived to the sound Kahn and Neek dropping Loefah – Disko Rekah, definitely one of my favourite dubstep tunes. Their set was a journey through classic dubstep releases from the likes of DMZ, Deep Medi and Tectonic and had the room shouting in approval every time another song was brought in. I think a lot of people were anticipating a mostly grime set from these two but no one was left wanting by this selection of tracks and they did throw in a couple of grime bangers to end their set, namely Bok Bok – Silo Pass and Skepta – Duppy.

Next up was Guido B2B with Gemmy who continued the trend of the night with classic dubstep but with a distinctly Bristol flavour. With the nature of the event, this was a celebration of past music, a showcase of the sound and as such the music was old but it definitely didn’t sound out of date as it rattled out from the on point Funktion One system.

As Guido and Gemmy wrapped up their set with the sound of Benga – 26 Basslines, Mensah AKA New York Transit Authority stepped up to mix together a set of dubstep and techno. He started with an atmospheric track which built up with repeated horns to then drop into the Skream remix of Ancient Memories, another personal favourite for me. Whilst the set was very heavy on the techno side of things, he repeatedly jumped back to dubstep and the crowd weren’t the narrow minded ‘dubstep only’ crowd these events can sometimes attract, so this mix up of BPMs and sounds went down a treat.

Addison Groove set a broody yet danceable atmosphere throughout his set, remaining on the more experimental side of things but that really is what he is good at. An obvious highlight to the set was Footcrab which inevitably received the reload with the full support of the crowd. Ending his set with some jungle got the crowd particularly crazy. At this point a special shout out for Sgt Pokes is in order. His hosting of the night was absolutely fantastic, loving the music every bit as much as the crowd.

Joker then stepped up to provide a mash up of grime, dubstep, jungle and trap, typical of current Joker sets. He mixed between contemporary trap tunes from the likes of TNGHT and old tear out from the likes of Coki which was a real injection of energy into the room. This set in particular gave the MCs a centre stage which allowed Pokes and Dread to do their thing to fantastic effect.

The B2B2B that ended the night between Pinch, Peverelist and Appleblim was a true party set that put smiles on everyone’s faces. Although the music was dark there was a definite happy vibe in the air, with people clambering on stage and the room packed out. I think everyone would have gladly stayed well into the night with tunes like the Loefah remix of I blasting out but sadly things had to end at about half 3.

This last ever Dubloaded was certainly a celebration of past exploits;- with dubstep classics galore and with a few mix ups of genre to keep the crowd on their toes. It was an absolute tour de force of UK bass music of the last 10 years. Whilst it really is sad to see a club like The Croft close down, Pinch put on a fantastic night which will be remembered for a long time.

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