Rubadub @ Mercury Live, Zonnebloem, 10.09.11

The long and the short this post is that Rubadub wasn’t very good this weekend. After not attending Sprung, a few friends were hitting Mercury so I joined them for a few drinks. From the moment I walked in, the dubstep being played was super outdated. There IS a difference between dropping a classic oldie and just playing old music because a DJ can’t be bothered to buy new music. Half the sets sounded like the music had been copied from friend to friend to friend.

One of my favourite things about electronic music is that I don’t know all the names of the producers, song titles, record labels, etc. It allows the beats to whisk you away, few, if ANY, sing-a-long-songs, means you can be on an unknown auditory journey. So if I go to a dubstep party and I know 50% of the songs then it REALLY says something about the effort of the DJ.

Now please don’t confuse my disappointment with a lack of understanding. I appreciate that young, new, up and coming DJ’s are NOT on radio station PR lists, are NOT sent free music and are not exposed to unreleased music, however, I refuse to believe with that with the dozens of tunes being legitimately released around the globe weekly, that a new DJ can’t find new beats to play. With file “treasure chests” of music readily available on the internet with a click of a button, there’s enough music out there for everyone to play a unique set.

My next issue is beat mixing. Now although I do not DJ myself, I have tried it and was blown away with how tricky beat mixing could be, but isn’t this the point? Isn’t beat mixing the FUN, the glory, the challenge, the creativity of being a DJ? I can’t understand why a DJ stands on stage and plays song after song from the top? That’s exactly what I can do! My
Mother could do that! PRACTICE PEOPLE – look it up in a dictionary, if you want to be a great DJ.

DJing (if you want to be taken seriously) is exactly the same as any other instrument, it takes practice, time and commitment. Resident DJ Psydstep tried to pump up the party but it was 500 Mills Counterstrike who took it to the next level with his skilful set. Yes, I know he’s been doing it for years, that’s not the point. I don’t mind if young DJs make mistakes but the least they can do is try. If I was on a line up with a great DJ, I would be stressing about making a fool of myself, practice extra hard that week, ask for help, because those characteristics are not lost to those who know what they’re doing.

Rubadub - Mercury liveSpeaking of Counterstrike, Rubadub is NOT Homegrown’s sister event. Each party is run by completely different promoter, they just so happen to both be held at Mercury Live. The best thing about Rubadub this weekend was the audience. They were genuinely enthusiastic and interested in having a good party but I feel that at best 3/5 of the DJ’s didn’t give them quality over quantity.

The smoke fountain looked cool, the Mercury staff were on form as per usual, Dub Vaders head lights were cute in a rip off William Orbit kind of way but what happened to all the other extra decor? I’ve seen some cool lighting arrangements there before. And what of the sound? It was so soft! You could literally have a conversation on the dancefloor! What a diss to bass music. I’m just going to pretend all speakers were hired out to Sprung to console myself.

I know Sprung removed half of Cape Town so audience numbers were effected, but this might not have been a bad thing in the light of this event. As the phrase goes “Style over substance”. Next Rubadub has an improved line up including Binary, let’s hope this party will redeem the promoters’ and audiences’ faith in South African dubstep talent.

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