Asian Dub Foundation – Village Underground (15 November 2013)

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Apparently, when Asian Dub foundation performed their soundtrack to La Haine live at the Broadwater Farm estate in early 2012, it was the first they had played together in some years.  Personally, I’d just been under the impression they were having a rare old time playing French and Japanese festivals and writing operas about dodgy political characters.  But, no, they’d been ‘inactive’.  The screening got them back working together.  So, last summer I gladly eschewed the chance to go see see The Fall and got myself along to the weird holiday camp venue that is the Indigo2 and they rocked.

Tonight, MES and cohorts are back in Clapham.  I’m in Shoreditch.  My thinking being you can never tell if it’s going to be another near-decade before I can see ADF again.  There’s quite a marked difference in the crowd they get in hipsterland vs south of the river.  There are bona fide famous folk here.  Y’know if they could get this crowd and the other together, they could play bigger… Scratch that. Nothing to see here.  Move along.

There’s a wonderful set of tunes from DJ Pandit G that serves as a reminder that even if all the music I loved ceased to exist, there is a world of stuff out there I’d find just as important.  A world I can never hope to fully explore.  This is a good thing.

We are then given over to another DJ.  I didn’t catch his name, but that’s probably just as well as he’s really not much cop.  He’s definitely something to do with their Community Music project.  So, maybe lets change that to he’s not to my taste.  He is joined on stage by two defintie CM alumni acts; I noted down the name of both, but can’t find them.  The first is a bunch of young girls who certainly have their moments, but seem really uncomfortable.  Whether this is down to nerves, or the dress-up-box cersion of what a girl-group should look like that doesn’t look like their idea, I dunno.  Possibly both.  The solo male that follows them is much more cocky.  Perhaps tediously agressively so, and very much from The Streets.

ADF walk a similar line to Public Enemy and The Clash (or at least the popular mythos of the latter).  They are a formidable live prospect.  Their blend of hip-hop and bhangra (or what I assume to be bhangra from my ill-educated position) is truly powerful. As yet, I have never seen them fail to get a complete room jumping.  And, I’ve been to a benefit they played for the Scottish Socialist Party – not known for their moves (at least not on the dancefloor).

There is the usual team of rappers, toasters and singers giving each song the take it needs.  But, the brilliant new addition to the band comes in the form of Nathan “Flutebox” Lee at…em…fluteboxer:  A bit like beatboxing, except with a flute.  He’s quite spectacular.  You’d think something like that might seem novelty and wear thin.  You’d be very wrong.

But what really makes ADF stand out from the crowd is Chandrasonic‘s incendiary guitar. The man is a true guitar hero.  From blazing walls of sound to intricate eastern melodies, without showing off.  No pose, pretty much bouncing up and down throughout. He loves this as much as us.  And not a blues scale in site.

I really should pick up their new album.


Written by Tony Kiernan

16 November 2013 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Gigs, London

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