Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Benga & Hatcha "Ras It Up"

Benga in action.

This past Saturday Oct 13 saw the UK's dubstep badmen Benga and Hatcha (Tempa Records) touch down at revived SF club TempleSF (formerly old school goth/industrial/rock live venue DV8).

The SureFire dubstep promotions crew teamed up with techno promoters Kontrol to present the three-room extravagaza, which also featured Germany's D.Diggler and Amsterdam techy-bass DJ Martyn. It was proper night in a clean, elegant space designed with a South Asian motif, including rare Buddha sculptures displayed throughout the various rooms. Temple is actually not unlike London's Fabric, with its downtown location, tasteful lighting, multiple rooms and unisex bathrooms.

ForwardEver camped out in the "BASS-ment" chamber, where emcee Collage (in town for a gig the next night with Kush Arora) was roaming the space, and eventually teaming on the m-i-c with resident emcee Child.

(L-to-R, DJ Collage and emcee Child)

Local selector Selector Dub U got busy first with a diverse selection of dubstep, ranging from clicky Kode 9-type tracks to wobbly pounders. My man Selector Shockmann was busy on the video feed, while personalities like Miro, deejay SamSupa! and Kid Kameleon settled into the space.

The room featured an enclosed DJ room facing out towards the dancefloor, but at floor level, which was a bit like looking at an anthropological exhibit, but probably ace for the players themselves, as it provided a dedicated work space.

(thanks to Shocks for the video. More coming soon...)

Benga and Hatcha came on at 12:15 a.m. and played "B2B" -- trading off every 2 or 3 plates. Benga began with his Rhodesy, jazz-steppa "Music Box" (featured on Mary Anne Hobbs Presents The Warrior Dubz). You could tell Benga was getting through and converting newbies -- even the security staff were nodding their heads.

Many, many hardcore SF music fans were on hand. It was one of those "woodwork" nights, where loads of folks who don't go out often or stay holed up in their studios came out for a listen. I counted no less than four video cameras rolling , and nuff flash cameras.

Benga and Hatcha were playing all their dubplates (I didn't see a CDr all night) at plus-8 on the turntable pitch control -- which added to the energy and propelled the music forward. I noticed that the more 4/4-oriented steppers beats -- those that had a ska-type galloping tempo, or nasty, crunchy basslines -- got the biggest crowd reaction.

Benga's own orignal numbers, including "Crunked Up," "Electro" and many other new, unreleased and untitled plates were also thoroughly applauded and drawn back. The boys moved through reggae-vocal dubstep numbers, and guttural tunes like Jakes latest on Hench.

The sweat and enthusiasm was raw. The crowd, including some random downtown partiers, and hip-hop room wanderers got into it. I saw backs arched and arms swinging in a unified, tribal expression. In short, the night was crucial.

Dem man a Ras it up!

(see all the photos)