Plan b, 14/05/10
For me, dub music means the Notting Hill Carnival. Most years I seem to find myself totally absorbed at the Aba Shanti-I stage, lost in a Red Stripe haze and loving the dub and reggae sounds blasting out the speakers. When I saw Mad Professor was playing at Plan B, I have to be honest and admit I didn’t know much about him. But, the joy of this blog means that I felt it was my duty to go and find out…
Bit of background info: Mad Professor should have a special place in all south Londoner’s hearts, as he started his now hugely successful record label/studio Ariwa records in his front room in Thornton Heath! Dub Be Crazy-the first album in a series of 12-was what put his label on the map. As well as travel the world and his involvement in a number of dub remixes, the 90’s saw him shoot to fame when he remixed Massive Attack’s second album, No Protection. (Check out his later remix of Angel by Massive Attack)
Now still producing lots of tunes and albums with Ariwa and traveling the globe bringing dub to distant lands, Mad Professor has got a lot going on.
Plan B was not a full as I’d thought considering this was his first London show of the year, still, a decent sized crowd was forming. The show was billed to start at 8pm and by 9.45 still he was nowhere to be seen, but hey, no one was in a hurry. Finally two of the Ariwa crew came on stage to warm us up and people immediately got up and started dancing. They played new tracks from Ariwa that were a really good mix of dub and dubstep with strong tunes and of course bass. As they were playing the obligatory (I’m guessing) bottle of Courvoisier was placed below the mixing decks…the Professor was coming.
He was introduced and in he walked looking totally in his element. Another Ariwa member joined him and played the melodica with the tracks throughout. Mad Professor’s first tune was by Black Steel and the energy rose and piano/flute sounds were incorporated into the dub. ‘This isn’t a tape machine,’ he yelled ‘or a computer, this is a real DUB MACHINE!’ What was so great about his set was that it was such a mixture; some songs were more electronic dub with a slower, echoey feel, then others would switch to more up/off-beat tunes. Other songs offered even more variety; one had samba/carnival vibes and another had a flautist on stage playing alongside the Mad Professor, giving it a really dreamlike sound. Old school dub followed whilst another tune had big hip-hop influences.
All in all a fantastic night and it was great to see a true pro doing what he does best.