Manchester’s dubstep scene has suffered recently to say the least, with some nights moving further and further away from the 140 sound; it seems to have been lost under a net of grime, techno and D&B, retracting into the cracks from which it came many years ago. Luckily, for fans of the genre, there are people still motivated enough to bring top class dubstep artists to the city, for a full night of bass weight appreciation. Ryan Lomax is one of these people, and last weekend he brought Distance to NQ Live, along-side Manchester locals Biome and Compa, and with an all northern local support cast to featuring TomFoolery, Lomez, Salvo, and Luckso.
When we arrived, Compa was unleashing his usual all vinyl assault on the crowd, featuring tunes from the likes of Mala, Coki and more classic dubstep artsits. Coki’s ‘Red eye’ always has the crowd moving, and Friday night was no exception, as does his remix of ‘Gangsta for life’ which is one of the longest standing dubstep anthems. It’s nice to see artists still so dedicated to pushing the sound through wax, barely anyone you see out now has had plates pressed specifically for the purpose of playing them out. It gives a much more authentic feel to a set if you can see the artist really working to guarantee a good mix.
Next up were two locals one after another, Lomez and then TomFoolery, who continued the dark vibes perfectly, and provided an in depth exploration between dubstep new and old, playing some unique tracks that I hadn’t heard for years! These two sets were full of fantastic tunes from Vivek, Mala and other dubstep legends; and was a really refreshing hour and a half from the two residents. The highlight track of this time for me was Thelem’s remix of the recent Gantz release ‘U Won’t Mind’, a heavy stomping version of the spacey repetitive piece. From the styles they played, I really look forward to future ‘Alive & Steppin’’ events, they know their tunes.
Chestplate head honcho and master of powerful synths ‘Distance’ was headlining the night, and every time I see him I’m instantly reminded why he is so highly regarded in the scene. His back catalogue dates back to around the time dubstep was properly born, including two complete albums before 2010; showing he had earned his place in the dubstep rankings.
His set was absolutely incredible, probably one of the best I have seen from him; featuring tunes new and old and with some excellent surprises, including a rewind into double drop of his remix of ‘Seven Breaths’ and DMZ’s ‘Earth a Run Red’. The two pieces of music sounded aesthetically perfect, and his ability to bring one in as a surprise behind the other worked incredibly well, showcasing the pure talent Distance has not only as a producer, but also as a Dj. It would be difficult to mention every big tune he played, but his remix of ‘Ruffhouse’ and all the latest pieces from the Chestplate gang tore the roof off. Last Friday was another reason that every time I see Distance on a line-up; special effort must be put in to attend.
Finally Manchester local and established artist Biome took the grave yard shift, and in recent times I have seen NQ get quiet near the end of the night, but Alive & Steppin’ had a crowd going all the way until the final tune, with people as lively at the end as they were at the start, a rare but pleasing sight at any night! I’ve never seen a Biome set I haven’t enjoyed, and he effortlessly moved through a great collection of techy hard hitting beats, including stuff from his recent Mindset records release, and personal favourite ‘Black Widow’.
This night breathed life back into my assumption that dubstep has nowhere near run its course; and that nights with a focus on 140 music can still smash it in the first round. Room 2 was marvellous it all night also, I only spent a few scattered moments in there, it too had a great vibe and people were dancing wall to wall; echoing the vibe of room 1. Special shout outs to Chillz, CheshireCat, Methodika, The Bass Tickler, Naive, and Gnosis for holding it down in room 2, everyone I heard throughout the night was really on point. I really look forward to seeing what comes next for Alive & Steppin’, the opportunity to go and see dubstep in Manchester again is exciting, and hopefully they stay alive for as long as possible!
Written By Michael Thomas
Alive & Steppin’:
Also if anyone has pictures from the night, hit me up; I’d love to put them in the article.