Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dubstep: Seven Days A Week In SF

(Kush Arora performed twice during SF's busiest week of dubstep)

In what surely establishes San Francisco as America's foremost city outside of the UK to embrace dubstep, the City By The Bay may have set an audacious new record for number of events in a week's span of time.

First, there were two underground shows with Kode 9, well reported by (look for an upcoming episode of their video broadcast to take you behind the scenes). Next, BOKA Recordings' DJ Distance and Tectonics' Pinch touched down on the S.F. waterfront to unload their heavyweight dubplates; it was the duo's second stop in Sucka Free in as many years.

Next, the monthly Surya Dub presented live sets from Badawi and Kush Arora, plus resident dubstepers Kid Kameleon and Maneesh The Twista. These events came on the heals of a special one-off NarcoHz event, SamSupa's weekly Wednesday One Ronin dubstep happy hour sessions at The Transfer Bar, the May 18 installment of of the free Friday monthly club night known as Grime City, and the myriad activities of the SF Dubstep promotion crew.

The week in review:
Wednesday May 23: Kode 9, Pole and Kid Kameleon at The Compound.
Thursday May 24: Kode 9 and Badawi at the Compound.
Friday May 25: Full Melt featuring Distance, Pinch, Juju, Kush Arora and DJ Ripple at Jelly's nightclub, Pier 50.
Saturday May 26: Surya Dub with Badawi, Kush Arora, Maneesh, Kid Kameleon et al at Club Six.
Sunday? Well, it was Carnival all day and night, where naturally bass played a major function on the event's floats and soundsystems, as well as after parties.

(DJ Pinch in the ether of bass)

In addition, S.F.'s (the "bells & whistles" online version of the print magazine) also supports dubstep through its regular "Week In Dubstep" series of news articles.

And it is important to mention that S.F. isn't engaged in a game of oneupsmanship; rather, the key figures of the West Coast, Midewest and East Coast dubstep scenes in America frequently work together on tour routing, cross-promotion and, in general, support each other's local DJ networks. Its a far cry from the antagonism of the U.S. drum & bass at its peak.

And there's less of a "Brits are the elites" vibe in the dubstep scene in general. Sure, credit goes where it's due: to the London producers, pirates and labels (Big Apple, Rinse, Tempa et al.) who established the sound, and who continue to innovate the music. But international ears caught on quickly, and now there's a recognized synergy between what the U.K. does and the rest of the world's interpretations. Subbass as uniter? I think its a fair proposition.