Wednesday night is Dub Club night at Echoplex in Los Angeles. I decided to check it out this week, in the mood for feel-good reggae tunes that have the ability to provoke even the stodgiest of bar patrons into dancing and wobbling. I've had the pleasure of seeing great live reggae bands like Sister Carol and The Skatalites, but every club featuring DJs spinning 'reggae/dancehall/dub' music has left me feeling sorely disappointed, like I was receiving a very watered-down version of the good stuff. And that's exactly why the resident Dub Club DJs are worth talking about: they all have an extremely in-depth knowledge of the genre and even better, a mastery of their instruments that allows them to weave a tremendous patchwork quilt of sound that is seamless to the ears and the feet.
Dub Club features DJs Tom Chasteen, Roy Corderoy, The Dungeonmaster, and Boss Harmony. I don't know who was who, as they rotated DJs just as quickly and smoothly as they rotated records. Occasionally, a DJ would sing a few notes into a microphone in the middle of the mix, and as the other DJs stood off to the side of the stage and conversed it was obvious that they were still very aware of the music and when it was their turn. There was a very positive sense of camaraderie onstage as they competed to fill the dance floor. When I got to Echoplex at 10pm, there were already people getting loose on the dance floor, something one doesn't usually see until after midnight; after all, it's the biggest compliment one can give to a group of performers that rarely receives applause more than once an evening (if at all).
It would be easy for a less adept DJ to take the easy way out in a genre like reggae and pack their set list with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Yet, I didn't hear a single Marley tune or hardly anything else that one would consider 'typical' reggae. In fact, there were many songs I had never heard before that made me want a complete set list I could pour over and stock my iPod with.
Lots of people think that being a DJ is easy, and I would agree that yes, it's easy to be a sub par DJ. I could count on two hands the number of times I've heard real creative artistry coming from a set of turntables, and on countless hands and toes the number of times I've paid to see what can best be described as 'button-mashing'. But not the resident Dub Club DJs at Echoplex: quality and style is not just the norm, it's demanded. If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in an immersion course in authentic reggae, then Dub Club Wednesday at Echoplex is for you. I know I'll be going back!
Echoplex is located in Los Angeles at 1154 Glendale Boulevard. Doors open at 9pm, and admission is free until 10pm and $5 after 10. You must be 21 and up to enter, and the actual club is located down an alleyway across the street from Citibank.
Where: Various venues in Portland, OR (see site for details)
When: Wednesday, September 8th-Sunday, September 12th. Times vary on show
Cost: General Admission-$65, All Show Wristband-$90 (see site for more details)
Age Restrictions: Festival itself is all ages though some venues 21+
Says Kelly: "See some of your favorite indie bands play Portland and discover promising up-and-coming acts in the same festival. Not only are you sure to find some hidden gems, but the festival is a great way to get to know all the city's best venues, from tiny bars to the historic Crystal Ballroom. Check out my full preview here* to get the scoop!"
The dynamically eccentric and often rough-edged Dir En Grey has come to Seattle from their home in Osaka, Japan. Their experimental rock/metal typically treads somewhere between the bizarre and the pacing of powermetal. Their live shows are hyped as being uncompromisingly intense and covered in an aura of thrash. Joining them is Finish melodic metal band Apocalyptica, who have been together for nearly two decades. Their compositions are much gentler than Dir En Grey and largely symphonic. The juxtaposition between the Dir En Grey and Apocalyptica’s styles and stage presence should make for a very intriguing live show.
Says Lauren: "Next Saturday (September 11) Dead Confederate will be playing alongside Alberta Cross at the famed Troubadour in L.A.! Doors open at eight sharp. Those longing for a little music from the golden grunge era known as the 90's won't want to miss D.C.- think old Smashing Pumpkins songs with a little Sunny Day Real Estate mixed in for good measure. Tickets are $15.00 and you can grab your pair at http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/12939. Those a little under the 21 range are in luck- this show's all ages! So grab the nearest partner in crime and go party like it's 1999 at the Troub! (http://www.troubadour.com/)"
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