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Brixton Gig Review: Dub Pistols light up Electric Brixton – Friday May 11th 2012

Under the direction of Barry Ashworth, Dub Pistols have built up an explosive live reputation packing as many gigs in to their schedule as possible all over the planet. At the end of last year they were voted Best Live Act at DJ Magazine’s Best Of British Awards and are currently slap bang in the middle of a new UK tour.

Their visit to Electric Brixton was always going to be special, not just because they had a stellar supporting line up including a live set from High Rankin & DJ slots from Sunday Best’s Rob Da Bank & XFM’s Eddy Temple-Morris, but because this was their new album (Worshipping The Dollar) launch night too.

We arrived around 11pm to find Rob Da Bank already on the decks warming up a well oiled crowd with a rousing mix of breaks and beats. In Room 2 the tunes were darker and deeper as Cash MC, Agman ,PJ & K.I.D hosted a line up of selectors including Shut Up & Dance, Apply The Breaks ? Mash Up Scratch Show, Swifty B, DJ Chug, Jynx, Concept, Lock-Up, One Skinny DJ Ellis Dee & Twista.

By the time Dub Pistols took the stage, the atmosphere was already electric. An up for it crowd of party people cheering, swaying and singing along to a set list that took in songs from the new album as well as some old favourites including a cover of The Stranglers’ ‘Peaches’ featuring the guest vocals of Rodney P who bounced around the stage with boundless energy.

Dub Pistols are famous for blending blissful elements of Dub, Ska, Hip Hop & Electronica. Mixed together on a live stage & backed by guest vocalists, swaggering brass sections and the infectious personality of Barry Ashworth and his band, it was soon shaken up into a molotov cocktail that the friendly crowd at Electric Brixton were only too happy to guzzle down.

After returning to the stage for a victorious encore, Dub Pistols disappeared to rapturous applause and Eddy Temple-Morris took to the decks to keep the main room rocking into the wee small hours. I’d like to tell you I was there until the bitter end, but the cider and sambuca had taken its toll and I stumbled home around half three, leaving everyone else to party on until 6am and what was sure to be a tequila sunrise over Brixton Town.

10/10 review on whisperinandhollerin of “Midnight Rocks album”

–  Label: ‘ROOTS’ –  Genre: ‘Reggae’ –  Release Date: ’22nd August 2011′-  
Catalogue No: ‘RJMCD115’ 

Like so many London-based youngsters caught up in the vortex of Punk, Barry Ashworth first caught the roots and dancehall reggae bug when legendary DJs like Don Letts spun bass-heavy Jamaican classics between sets at trail-blazing late ‘70s haunts like The Roxy or Camden’s Electric Ballroom.

It was a combination of this long-standing passion for roots reggae and the mid-90s Big Beat boom that would shape the sound of Ashworth and acolyte Jason O’Byrne’s Dub Pistols project, while later recording sessions with the likes of Horace Andy, The Specials’ Terry Hall and the now sadly late Gregory Isaacs have only enhanced their reputation for releasing quality reggae-tinged material.

Consequently, the first of a new series of releases on the Roots label celebrating Jamaica’s Golden Age seems the perfect opportunity for Ashworth to trawl through his old dub, early dancehall 7”s and 12”s and sequence 14 dynamite pre-digital classics on one LP, the resulting ‘Hit Sound of The Dub Pistols At Midnight Rock.’

It’s an inspired collection. Opening with the almost hymnal ‘Words of my Mouth’ from AL CAMPBELL, the selections move seamlessly from the Poppier end of the spectrum (SUGAR MINOTT’S silky smooth ‘Steal Away Girl’, GEORGE NOOKS’ fab ‘I’ve Got to Go’) through to deep-rooted Rastafarian anthems (BARRY BROWN’S ‘Movements of Jah’) and the otherworldly ‘Blow Mr. Hornsman Blow’ where ghostly snatches of Dave Brubeck’s jazz standard ‘Take Five’ waft through a gaping door of dub. 

Bearing in mind Ashworth is a self-confessed fan of producer Nkrumah ‘Jah’ Thomas, it’s no surprise we also get a generous collection from his archive. This is most definitely a good thing, as the goodies include toast-heavy DJ workouts (RANKING TOYAN’S ‘Palaving Spree’) and ‘Rain Dub’ from ROOTS RADICS VS. THE SCIENTIST, a wonderfully wobbly dub with snatches of ambulance sirens, ratchet guitars and bass frequencies sliding dangerously into the red. Perhaps best of all, though, is the relatively obscure EARLY B’S ‘History of Jamaica’ (“Jamaica is a country inna de Caribbean Sea…700 miles from Miami”): a brilliant geographical Roots classic and a real find to boot.

With its’ 14 tracks clocking in at a leave-you-wanting-more 48 minutes, ‘The Hit Sound of the Dub Pistols At Midnight Rock’ is an absolute must-have for all self-respecting lovers of old school Roots Reggae. If you’ve previously given headphone space to Barry Myers’ ace ‘Scratchy Sounds’ or any of the magical Trojan Box Sets then you’ll be right at home here. 

Dub Pistols online

Roots Records website

Roots Records on MySpace


Review of: V/A : The Hit Sounds of the Dub Pistols at Midnight

V/A: The Hit Sounds of the Dub Pistols at Midnight 

Reviewed By: Daniel Cressey 
Label: Roots Music 
Format: CD

Barry Ashworth has taken time off from running the Dub Pistols to throw together this collection of gloriously sweet roots records release. The cumbersome album title references the fact that all the tracks here are drawn from U Brown’s ‘Hit Sound’ records or Jah Thomas’s ‘Midnight Rock’ label.

It’s one long shift of laid back baselines overlaid with snatches of piano, horns and vocals. George Nooks adds in a great reggae lovers number on ‘I’ve Got To Go’ laced between instrumental dub tracks and more dancehall-style numbers. Sugar Minott does a similar up-tempo job on the lovely ‘Steal Away Girl’.

Ashworth has done a truly sterling job on this compilation, which presents these great tracks in their entirety with (thankfully) no attempt to force them together into a mix.

Some of the artists here will be familiar to the casual reggae fan, but a higher number will inspire some searching through the archives to find more. Which is really the best compliment you can pay any compilation. Anyone with even a passing affection for reggae will find their summer soundtrack right here.

MUSIC-NEWS.COM review of Bearded Theory Festival 2011

Bearded Theory Festival


added: 11 Jun 2011 // gig date: 13 Jun 2011 
reviewer: Sid Reddy


Bearded Theory started off as a small gathering and has now grown into a large festival in Derbyshire, dragging in over 2000 people each year. Although it is not a well known festival it certainly has a large loyal following. When I first arrived I was greeted with wind, rain and dark clouds looming overhead. However the atmosphere and the people made it feel like I was in the middle of a hot summers day. Everyone was dancing around with a beer and an umbrella in hand whilst reggae beats strummed through the air. 

The Friday presented many good acts but the best by far were ‘The Skints’, a reggae band from London. Usually when I put reggae on I want to relax and lie in the sun with a beer but this band just made me want to dance like a madman. Everyone was jumping up and down to the rhythm and I just wanted to join in. They have really merged the old with something new and exciting; this band are definitely one to look out for in the future.

Saturday had nicer weather which just increased the amazing atmosphere. The festival is very family orientated with a kid’s play area running activities all day. It’s refreshing to see somewhere catering for youngsters as well as the older generation. 

The 3 Daft Monkeys really started the day off for me. Even though it’s not generally the type of music I listen to it was thoroughly enjoyable and I really got into locking arms with the person next to me and swinging round in a jig. They were so full of energy and made the bright day even better. My favourite band of the day were the Dub Pistols, a big beat dub band from London. They were suave and seductive, drawing in the audience with every single song they played. They mixed the smooth, chilled sounds of reggae with the swift beats of ska. Truly an amazing band and I recommend seeing them if you ever get a chance!

David Gibb & The Pony Club started the sleepy Sunday morning with quirky tunes and a couple of sing a long tunes. This band are definitely going to get big in the future so keep an eye out for them! They’re doing a summer tour this year so if you can get to a gig then go! My favourite act of the weekend was The Petebox. He records live beatboxing, samples and loops it, creates another track and layers it all together creating a whole song using only his voicebox. The tent was absolutely packed out within minutes and the crowd loved him. Everyone was on their feet, jumping and singing and screamed for more at the end. This guy is truly talented.

Altogether the festival was amazing and so fun to be a part of. With majority of people in fancy dress, a wedding, a world record attempt for the most fake beards worn, Wagner kissing a bride and brilliant performances it was definitely one of the best festivals I’ve been to. The atmosphere is great, the people are great and the festival was so enjoyable. If you need a weekend away Bearded Theory is definitely the place to go.

4 stars

Boomtown Fair 2010 Rated by Virtual Festivals

Phil Bradley is delighted with the unusual world of Boomtown Fair 

Overall – 9/10

Boomtown Fair is just the right size to have the best of times in the three or so days you choose to spend here. Boasting a magnitude of entertainment it’s full of profound and original ideas to stimulate the dullest of senses and divert one’s attention away from the mainstreams of normality.

There is an expansive collaboration of music and art from a boxing ring that holds drum and bass dance-off battles to Downtown Boomtown, a street with a leisure centre, a barber’s shop, a casino and a Launderette that the town’s rebels have taken over and turned into a string of underground clubs and venues playing cabaret, gypsy, folk, reggae, and dub.

Getting There And Back – 9/10

Held in a location that’s central to the south and the Midland, Boomtown Fair has to be one of the easiest festivals to get to and from. With simple access to major roads and motorways, a Boomtown Bus running from local train stations and a return coach service departing from both Brighton and Bristol, it is simple to get to even for the most awkward of travellers. It is advised to car share if you are driving as the traffic may cause disruption to the locals.

The Site – 10/10

Set at Stowe Landscape Gardens, a 16th century country garden estate in Buckinghamshire, the site is a spectacle adorned by lakes and temples and maintained by The National Trust. There are plenty of urinals and portable loos that are cleaned everyday and lots of drinking water throughout the site. There are also lots of places to buy food, drink and costume and there is a bar in most of the venues.

The venues themselves take us from The Town Centre, which is the main stage surrounded by walls of graffiti, past the Invisible Circus stage area and on through Downtown Boomtown. At the end of the winding, derelict street we find Devil’s Kicks, a rockabilly stage. At the back of the festival just in front of the campervan field is The Lion’s Den, a Roots, Dub and Reggae tent. All venues are just the right distance away from each other so you will always bump into your friends if you get lost.

Atmosphere – 10/10

The atmosphere has the perfect combination of debauchery and decadence. It rains on the first day as people are arriving but it doesn’t stop this life-loving rabble from donning their chemical overcoats forbidding the downpour to ruin the jubilations. The rain stops and everyone changes into their Boomtown costumes to take on the character of the festival. No egos, no agro, just good times with good friends.

Music – 7/10

The undeniable theme sound of the festival is reggae. If you don’t like reggae then there are many dub, dubstep and drum n bass DJs along with rockabilly, psychobilly, gypsy music and even country and western around too. Lots of brass on all the stages and every band and DJ has enough upbeat dance material to keep the crowd on their toes all weekend. This is essentially a reggae dance festival with the diversity to please all tastes, unless you prefer the mainstream.


Dub Pistols – 10/10
This band is a perfect festival outfit. With their blend of dub, dancehall, big beat and ska sounds and the jump up and down presence of the suited and booted band on stage, they send the crowd into a frenzied dance off throughout the performance.

Tragic Roundabout – 8/10

With about eight members on stage, playing ragged-up gypsy dance versions of songs like ‘What Shall We Do with The Drunken Sailor?’, this band turns The Devils Kicks Dancehall into a pirate shipped up shindig for a Sunday evening parade of lunacy, outrageous outfits and devilish dance steps.

Babyhead – 8/10
Opening their set in The Town Centre shouting: “You have now entered Baby Boomtown,” this is another band that fits perfectly in a festival such as this. They tell us they are “born out of love for Jamaican soundclash, forged through a do-it-your-self punk rock ethic and delivered with a raw hip hop swagger.” The unstoppable Babyhead sound is drawn from all quarters of the musical universe.

Rasta4eyes – 8/10

These young northerners play a blinding set in The Invisible Circus. With a mix of ska and reggae they keep the crowd jumping through every song. Lots of live brass and offbeats keeps this raw sound both laid back and jumped up. The musicianship on stage is effortless and virile; Rasta 4 Eyes seem too young to be as good as this.

Trojan Soundsystem – 8/10

Playing through a chilled sunny Sunday afternoon at The Lion’s Den this set finds its ideal time. If you have never seen this soundsystem before, they are a DJ with MCs and vocalists ripping up the dance floor and chilling out the outskirts with a Trojan Records back catalogue mixed nicely into dub, hip hop and reggae from around the world.

Random Events

The whole of Downtown Boomtown is the most random event of the weekend with the derelict shops, stores and even a leisure centre that have been taken over by a faction of rebels and turned into clubs and venues such as the ASBO Disco. There is a back end of a car stuck out of a body shop. There are trees made from exhausts with smoke and fire bellowing out of the twisted tubes. There are dance offs in a boxing ring and a barbershop like a scene from Sweeney Todd with banging dubstep as the theme tune. The list goes on you’ll just have to experience it for yourself next year.