This Gentlemen’s Dub Club article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup contributor. Lead picture by Harry Hitchens
Gentlemen’s Dub Club have become a regular face on the UK festival circuit. From Boomtown to Bestival, the group have played them all, and have now a large, energetic fan base as a result. The nine-piece, originally from Leeds, have been re locked away recently working on their newest album ‘Big Smoke’ and, from the sounds of the few preview tracks, it will prove just as successful as their previous efforts. This gig felt like a celebration of what was to come, and there was certainly an expectation of some fresh material to be featured during their set.
The venue of choice for the evening was the enigmatic and grimy Brixton Electric. Originally christened The Fridge, the club/gig space has featured an eclectic mix of acts, including Chance The Rapper and Nero. The layout of this non-pretentious building is wonderfully multi-storied and arranged in a similar fashion to London ex-theatre venues Koko and The Coronet Theatre. There is certainly a sense of exploration involved when visiting Brixton Electric; its raised up walkways and hidden rooms are always a treat to explore. Although the night’s entertainment was confined to the main room, it was a great experience to be back there again, under the glow of the many disco balls strung from the ceiling.
The evening was kicked off by the always excellent Glaswegian dub collective Mungo’s HiFi. As the DJ began to warm up the sound system the floor began to fill slowly with a crowd who all moved in perfect sync. There’s a particular crowd movement that accompanies reggae; everyone bounces on the offbeat, and sways like a great sea of bodies. Mungo’s proved to be the perfect act to get things going. Rather than just playing their usual smoky reggae tunes, they threw in a few curveball jungle tracks that really got the late Friday night crowd moving. The MC paced the stage with mis-placed swagger, and only really chimed in occasionally, acting more as a set piece than a performer. But nonetheless, Mungo’s set got everyone stirred up and ready for the main event.
The lights melted into a fiery glow of orange, red and yellow as Gentlemen’s Dub Club moved into their positions on stage. The group is certainly legendary for their performance energy, and they certainly did not disappoint. Frontman Jonathan Scratchly jumped around the stage with hyperactive, suedo-cockney style, mirroring a crowd who were buzzing with excitement. The floor soon became one large mosh pit, with people falling around in all directions rather than actually dancing. It was all extremely good-natured however, and it never felt like things got rowdy in a negative way.
With a new full-length album coming out in a few short weeks, Gentlemen’s Dub Club treated the audience to some of their new material. One highlight was their live rendition of ‘Music is a Girl I Love’, a slow number which features all the echoey brass and vocals that the group weave together so well. From speaking to a few people there, you got a sense that the crowd that night was made up of fans rather than people just stumbling in off the street. When ‘Highgrade’ began the audience drowned out the group with their sweaty rendition of the now legendary smoking tune. It was truly wonderful to watch so many people going absolutely nuts all at once.
It’s not often that you find yourself at nights with atmospheres as positive and lovely as this one. Everyone was friendly and chatting, and the music was on point all the way through. The group encored with their track ‘Fire’ and closed the show with a thunder of bass, drums and a thumping brass section.
Gentlemen’s Dub Club gave the audience a great live show last week and it was an absolute pleasure to see them again. If you’re a fan of reggae or dub check this group out; their music is so much fun that it would be a crime to miss out on them.