Subdub 20th September 2013 – Young Warrior Soundsystem / Osiris Music
Mark Salford and Simon Scott’s Subdub has spent the last 15 years establishing itself at the forefront of both classic and contemporary bass music; playing host to top class line ups from all manner of genres. Expanding well beyond their original home of Leeds as far as London and Croatia, many would think it could have lost its original feel. However, a whole decade and a half from its inception, Subdub continues to provide one of the best ways to spend a musical evening in the country. Although Subdub has its roots in dub / reggae, some of the additional promoters who have been involved over the years have resulted in some spectacular line ups from all areas of bass; Osiris Music being one of these.
This was the third time Osiris have found themselves in room 2 of the Vox in Leeds and it was boasting a line up even “super clubs” like fabric would be eager to present. Opening the madness was ‘Sleeper’, a name I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing live yet so was really looking forward to. The crowd was quiet at this point and left a lot of room to appreciate the complex mixture of tear-out and depth Sleeper provides. He played both ‘Don’t Ask Me’ and ‘Ask Yourself’; a contrasting duo of tunes which both use the same sample but one in a more angry dubstep manner and the other leaning towards his modern techno feel. ‘Zodiac’ got the usual explosive reaction from the crowd and topped off what was already a really high quality set from one of the newest Osiris music makers.
Next up were a duo that I am always excited to see and who always bring such a high level of variety and energy to a crowd. It is interesting to note that Kaiju are some of the few artists in the game who DJ using almost entirely their own material; it is extremely rare to hear them play anything outside of their own productions. This creates a real level of synergy throughout the tracks that some artists cannot supply. This set was no exception and their remix of Fat Freddy’s Drop’s ‘Cay’s Cray’ had the crowd screaming every word. Their remix of Kryptic Mind’s classic ‘Hybrid’ was another highlight for myself, with the Kaiju boys putting their own unique spin on what is already an amazing song.
Osiris head honchos Kryptic Minds were up next, however it was just Simon performing tonight, as is often the case. This never affects the performance though and as usual they had people moving from the front to the back of the room. The sound system chosen for the night, Sweet Potato, seemed to have had a revamp and the void bass bins were throwing Kryptic’s bassline around the room perfectly. With so many unknown tunes it is often difficult to distinguish highlights from their sets but there are some songs Kryptic will always stand by such as ‘Six Degrees’. This low bass line growler has been around for over 4 years and still demands a reload every time; it’s haunting intro a trademark of the Osiris sound. The icing on the cake of this hour was their remix of Amit’s ‘Stay With Me’, a heavy weight remake of the classic rolling piece.
Next up is a Dj who requires absolutely no introduction. Youngsta has spent years ensuring he’s at the top of every aspect of the dubstep scene and his involvement in nearly every label making any decent movements shows that he is at the forefront of 140. His set featured some absolutely beautiful mixes, including a double drop of Joker – ‘Headtop’ and ‘Midnight Request Line’; a mix that itself demanded two reloads! On top of this was the new Skeptical piece ‘Chain Reaction’ and another of his own collaborations with Seven ‘War Cry’; a dark stomper to go with his quickly expanding collection of self-made beats. Youngsta’s set was definitely the peak of the evening, with about 50% of the crowd filtering out around this time leaving room 2 spacious and and full of happy vibes; a feeling Subdub always promises.
Closing the evening in room 2 were Killawatt and Ipman; a pair who have proven themselves to be lethal in the studio. Their B2B set lacked some of the synergy of other sets I have seen from two artists, however their individual tune selection was outstanding. Killawatt played classics such as Skream – ‘Rollin’ Kicks’ and Noah D – ‘Serious’; the latter I have not heard out in, maybe, 3 years’ time. These two alone were highlights of the entire evening for me and after hearing them I felt enough dubstep satisfaction to spend my final hour in the welcoming warm beats of the Iration Steppas and Young Warrior sound systems.
Every time I set foot inside room 1 of a Subdub I’m reminded why I love dub so much and repeatedly ask myself why I don’t put more effort into seeing it on a regular basis; especially the variety Mark Iration and his dedicated crew play. Their ‘dubs inna year 3000 style’ has become renowned around the world for moulding classic reggae styles with a modern format of production which results in one of the most energetic and uplifting forms of entertainment I have ever experienced. I recognize few of the songs which coupled with the completely indescribable power of the bass bins they have crafted from hand adds to the magic of visiting this room. A truly magical musical experience.
This night, despite entering its 16th year of entertaining, shows absolutely no sign of slowing down; with London branches now appearing and their hand in the running of outlook festival, it seems confirmed that the Subdub brand is here to stay. My only hope is they manage to return to their spiritual home of the West Indian centre, a location I have only once had the pleasure of visiting. Nights at the Vox are incredible but there is something fundamentally bewitching about their old home which no other venue could imitate. Let’s hope they continue for many years to come and build upon their already confirmed place in the bass music history books.