Last week, I packed myself into a suitcase and headed to the station for 48 hours of very little sleep and very many vibes. Travelling down to Bristol (via Bath), I knew the following few days were going to be good – but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how good the DEEP MEDi x Teachings in Dub ‘Weekender’ was. As far as events go, it’s up there – in my experience – as one of the premier dances I’ve been to here in the UK. And that’s saying something…
[This is on the longer side of an event recap – but I’d be doing everyone involved a disservice with something short – so if you’re looking for a quick ting, this may not be for you]
As a refresh, this lineup is why I was heading to Bristol:
And if you need it explaining, maybe this write up’s not for you! As a follow up to the wildly popular last session (powered by Jon and our friends at RC1); Mala, Yella and Dubkasm/ Teachings’ Stryda seemingly put their heads together to come up with a lineup that’d keep everyone happy. And then some.
Linking up with Jamie Kaiju off the train, we also met with Iain from Isolate. If you’re not caught up on why we’re rating the Isolate boys, have a quick look/ listen. Well worth it. Having caught up with Paul and the rest of the crew, we had the customary pre-dance KFC and headed down to Trinity Centre…
As expected with the sellout event, by the time we’d rolled up things were pretty mad at the door. We made it in eventually, catching up with a few friendly faces in the crowd as we rolled into the venue.
We were greeted by the warming sounds of Mungo’s Hi Fi, who had travelled down from Glasgow to power the dance over the weekend. Mungo’s may not pack the raw aggression or power the RC1 does – and it would be unfair to compare the two (as they really are incomparable) – but for a more ‘traditional’ sound system, there are few like Mungo’s. It’s wonderful.
Dubkasm and Kahn and Neek’s Gorgon Sound were first up, trading more than a few duplates in the time I managed to catch of them. The power and expertise of these two duos is unrivalled – with both crowd, Mungo’s and fellow DJs revelling in what was played. The mighty Victory made an appearance, as did the wonderful Mala version…
As well as crowd favourite Dread. This tune always goes off!
Even as early as 11.30 or so, Trinity was pretty packed – which boded well for the rest of the night. The Bristol crowd, albeit slightly younger than I was expecting, was taking everything thrown at them (and coming back for more). Dubkasm brought their selection and style, Gorgon Sound brought the tunes everyone was hoping they would.
And Rider Shafique did what he does best!
As a first Vs set, the Dubkasm Gorgon Sound pairing was a brilliant opener. Just the right level of energy (from both DJs and crowd), superb selection and a pretty solid taste of things to come. With Kaiju and Tunnidge following, alongside the mighty Selah, as well as a Mala Vs Goth-Trad, the night was shaping up nicely…
Next up we had the mighty Tunnidge Vs Kaiju – which might have been the highlight set of the night. Going two tunes each, we had ample opportunity to hear the tunes everyone wanted. Tunnidge came with the classics (Skeng, Hard, Skream’s I remix etc) and Kaiju brought more than a few of the dubs from their fairly overstocked arsenal.
Sun of Selah hosted the set as only he can; keeping the Vs/ b2b flowing nicely. We had a number of Kaiju bootlegs thrown at MEDi x Teachings – including their Cay’s Crays version, Diplodocus, Changes and the (below) seamless blend out of Bukez Finezt‘s Under Control into the Morgue refix that surfaced at the last MEDi x Teachings dance (apparently commanding three reloads on the RC1). A naughty tune that’s for sure!
Post Kaiju/ Tunnidge madness, everyone needed a bit of a breather.
Un/fortunately, that didn’t happen. Kahn returned for his Vs set with frequent collaborator Commodo – and things got pretty manic as soon as the first tune dropped. But, saying that, we did have time to wish Kahn a happy birthday – the first (and only) time I’ve ever experienced someone kill a tune in a packed out dance to bringing in cake and candles and get the venue to sing. A very special moment that epitomised the love in this community.
As things started getting really rowdy, with the youngers in the crowd getting increasingly hyped for the grime/ trap/ bass/ whatever you want to call it Kahn and Commodo were playing, I went for an explore. Trinity Centre’s a wonderful community epicentre for music and culture in Bristol – and it was no different during The Weekender.
There was an epic stall selling a tonne of vinyl (amongst other things) and some awesome food on offer (I didn’t get a chance to try it, but the curried goat was apparently next level).
Towards 3.30am or so, we were all starting to flag and, more than aware of the next day’s festivities, we decided to call it a night and head back to Bath for some much-needed R&R. I have it on good authority that Mala Vs Goth-Trad went off (would it do anything but?) and I was pretty gutted to miss it – I wasn’t going to spoil Mala’s 04-08 set with Sgt. Pokes the following day.
So day one of the DEEP MEDi x Teachings In Dub done, day two to follow…
If there’s a single piece of A4 paper to instil excitement in a fan of our music, this served that purpose. Seeing that line up sent all number of shivers up my spine!
Having made our way back into Trinity, the crowd seemed slightly older for day two. We caught a few familiar faces, but it definitely felt like a slightly different group of heads who’d made the pilgrimage. Dubkasm opened proceedings, following their Vs Gorgon Sound set from the night before with a 90s UK dub session that warmed Mungo’s up for the arrival of Channel One.
And Channel One did not disappoint! Shouts to Dub-Stuy each and every. It’s always a pleasure seeing Mikey Dread and Ras Kayleb perform – and their set Saturday was a true pleasure to behold. The vibe level was more than high for when the Sarge and Mala appeared…
“Right about now, there’s three types of people in the room. Nostalgists, people catching an education and people that ain’t gonna like it. I got three messages: nostalgists, welcome back. Educationists, congratulations. And to those that don’t like it, I’ll see you next time…”
“Who knows? Raise your glass. Raise your hands.”
“Who said? Bristol, who said wheel?”
“Bristol, repeat after me: da da da da da da.”
For everything you’d hope a 2004-2008 set from Mala and Sgt. Pokes would be, the two didn’t disappoint.
My personal highlight (even with the one or two skips!) was the final tune. To hear the Mighty Zulu Nation remix live, after all these years, was a truly, truly special moment…
After Mala and Pokes, the mighty Congo Natty appeared. Clearing the air with a crowd-assisted rendition of Redemption Song before launching headfirst into some jungle fire, it was a welcome step up in tempo after the history trip of the set before…
Things took a slightly deeper turn for the final Congo Natty tune. He shared a welcome message – one the crowd took note of, joining together and giving thanks.
“Hold on, hold on. That’s not loud enough. Trinity Centre. Trinity Centre. Let me tell you something, seen. It’s not about black man and white man. It’s about freedom, seen. And overstanding, seen. And, you know what, unity. So tonight is about unity. Reggae, jungle, grime, hip-hop.”
As Jah Shaka started setting up, coming up to 3am again, we admitted defeat and headed for the car for the drive home and our beds. It was a long two days and come Sunday, we were all pretty broken.
The DEEP MEDi x Teachings in Dub Weekender was a long and rewarding 48 hours – one it’s increasingly rare to see here in the UK. To see an incredible four generations of sound system culture under one roof; and on Mungo’s Hi Fi no less, was fantastic. The crowd both Friday and Saturday were a pleasure too – an event that really demonstrates how amazing our community is.
It may sound like hyperbole – but it’s not – it really was an honour to attend and share the experience with both Mala, Yella (and the rest of the DEEP MEDi team) and Stryda (and the rest of the Teachings team). They all worked hard to realise the event and the fact there were sellout crowds across both nights is testament to the strength and vision the two teams share.
It was also a pleasure to share the dance with everyone who played – Dubkasm & Gorgon Sound, Kaiju & Tunnidge, Kahn & Commodo, Mala & Goth-Trad on Friday alongside Dubkasm, Channel One, Mala & Pokes, Congo Natty & Iron Dread and Jah Shaka on the Saturday. Each and every one of you guys smashed it. Not forgetting Selah or Rider Shafique either.
Special thanks have to go to Mala, Yella, Jamie and Paul, Iain and everyone else. It really was a blessing to be involved.