As a blog, we often find ourselves in discussions about which genres, labels or artists we feel are the very top of the class; however when it comes to which night out is the best, the decision is easy. It’s hard to believe it has been two whole years since Vivek first set up the rig in the dome but in that time he’s established what is easily one of the best and only revivals of the famous dubstep nights of the past.
The line-up was, as always, kept secret until around midnight on the actual night, the three artists announced as the System Roots set finished. This time round it was Quest, Gantz and newcomer to the scene Wen, whose name I was really surprised and excited to hear. The opening three hours as always was dedicated to sound system culture new and old, playing reggae classics and up to date bass driven sounds to warm the crowds up for the musical adventure to come. Bob Marley’s ‘Could You Be Loved’ sparked the System family vibe just before the main sets and had the whole room singing the lyrics together. That’s an aspect of this night that keeps you craving more, the feeling of unity and love that fills the room.
First up was Wen whose name has been appearing on blogs and line-ups more consistently recently and with the announcement of his forthcoming album on Keysound, he’s someone making big moves at the moment. His set sat around 128-135 bpm and had everyone in the Dome moving their feet. SP:MC had the mic for this one and with the grime influenced sounds of Wen, his bars were working amazingly. The slowed bpm gave him ample time to put together a really interesting vocal set which matched Wen’s style immaculately. This combination of vocals and vibes was the ideal way to get the evening going.
Next up from 1 until 2 was System founder and boss V.I.V.E.K, whose sound defines that of the System culture and has driven it to the heights it sits at currently. ‘Asteroids’ brought back some great System memories for me, as did ‘Fully Rankin’ and ‘Poison Dart’. His sets are always a blend of nostalgia and modern dubplates to keep even the keenest 140 fan on their toes. From start to finish the crowd was lively, friendly and most of all considerate. No night I have yet been to has the level of community System has created, there is a sense that not only is everyone there to enjoy themselves, they want those around them to enjoy it equally. Something modern club culture has basically lost.
Following Vivek was the one and only Quest, who’s reputation as a disc jockey is ruthlessly maintained by a back catalogue of mixes and tunes matched by very few. Around this time Crazy D stepped in on microphone duty which fitted the evening perfectly, a classic MC for a classic artist. This set was brilliantly anti-social featuring some true dubstep classics such as Silkie’s ‘Beauty’ and Mala’s ‘Lean Forward’. It’s hard to remember every blend he did but a few of them had everyone jumping to the front to demand a reload. He doesn’t just work the mixer, he works the crowd and with finesse and style. He’s a pleasure to watch and in modern times, a rarity.
Finishing the night was one of the strongest rumours for this night and easily one of main names I’d hoped for. Gantz has been at the forefront of dubstep recently, with his unique take on the 140 style and complete disregard for convention when it comes to production. Hypnotic, atmospheric and in some cases disorientating; Gantz’s approach makes him leap out of the crowd and stand tall as an musical innovator. His own ‘Spry Spinster’ tore the roof off the dome, however it was his clever use of the Commodo tunes ‘Space Cash’ and ‘F*ck Mountain’ that had the room screaming. A truly ridiculous double drop from a DJ to keep your eyes locked on.
Overall, System’s second birthday delivered everything we had hoped for and more. Unique names on the line up, a mixture of contemporary and classics and a constant level of festivity. It was a birthday party through and through and shy of a cake, it had all the elements of a true celebration. Let’s hope the year holds many more great System parties and this night continues on the path it’s heading. For anyone who truly believes dubstep isn’t thriving, visit the dome while it’s under System control. You couldn’t be further from the truth.
Written By Michael Thomas
[If anyone has any images from the night that we could include, let us know! we’d love to include them]