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Review: Gentleman's Dub Club @ O2 Academy

Luc Gauci Green walks us through an experimental take on the classic dub sound Bristol is known for

Gentleman’s Dub Club are a well-renowned dub band from Leeds who have been active since 2006. Their music blends and merges dub, dubstep and reggae while fusing elements of genres outside of this. Some artists that are similar and have even collaborated with them are Mungo’s Hi Fi, Kiko Bun, Iration Steppas and the Aggrovators. Gentleman’s Dub Club are currently on their UK-wide ‘On a Mission’ tour showcasing their latest album of the same name.

By Luc Gauci Green, Second Year English and History

In all honesty I had never heard of Gentleman’s Dub Club before, but had heard of the dub genre through my sister who had always enjoyed it when it’s played. In a sense, this genre has been closely linked with fond memories and fun nights out with my sister in recent years. This enjoyment of dub gave me enthusiasm to explore this music further and led me to take on this review. And now, through the Gentleman’s amazing show, they have gained a new fan.

The gig began in an intoxicating fashion with their support act and multiple-time collaborator, Kiko Bun. He immediately captivated and charmed the audience with his laid-back, reggae crooning. He successfully got the whole crowd moving from minute one of his half-hour set, creating a fantastic energy to set up the arrival of the Dub Club. Combining smooth vocals with vibrant and upbeat instrumentation in songs like ‘Stay Bless’ and ‘Bad Boy Tenor’, the crowd can’t help but bounce along. He epitomises the feel-good energy synonymous with reggae.

His opening set was the perfect taster for what was to come and his cameo for the collaboration ‘See You Next Tuesday’ felt like a well-deserved recognition of his earlier efforts. The Gentleman’s Dub Club sustained Kiko’s electric energy through their high-octane opener ‘Emergency’, with clear garage/grime influence from Jonathan Scratchley’s vocal performance. This intense intro was followed by the cheery and upbeat songs like ‘Music is the Girl I Love’. With lyrics like ‘Music is the girl I love/Every day and night/She’s on my mind’, describing exactly what the crowd is experiencing: people who love the music they make and love performing it even more.

The band’s interactions with the crowd, whether it was Scratchley hyping us up, Matt Robert’s passionate dancing, or the many talented solos from across the band are testament to their love for performing. The atmosphere throughout was dynamic and thrilling with the crowd answering every single call to them in impressive manner. When asked to ‘put every ounce of energy into this next song’, the crowd dutifully responded. There was hardly a point where the crowd wasn’t joyfully grooving along and ‘Dancing in the Breeze’.

Even the song ‘Gone’ felt like a cheerful ‘Lily Allen “F- you”’ to a past relationship with Scratchley producing the happiest middle finger I’ve ever seen for its duration. They combined songs from their new album with older fan favourites like ‘High Grade’ which had the whole crowd singing along creating a rush between everybody in attendance. The appreciation from the crowd was unbelievable with constant cheering, willing for an encore which delved into an intense dubstep remix of the classic that completely elevated the already ‘High Grade’ energy of the performance.

One thing the Leeds-based band said that struck me was ‘how much like coming home it feels’ to be performing in Bristol again. This feeling of returning from a journey marked the whole night in what felt like a sumptuous homecoming in Bristol, looking back at how far they have come. This was most notable in the number of different age groups present, united by appreciation of the established band. Their genre-fusing show combining dub, reggae, jazz, rap, electronic and much more was met with equal energy at every point from the crowd. Overall, it felt that everything the Gentleman’s Dub Club (and Kiko Bun) touched turned to gold. They could not put a foot wrong the whole night with a truly tremendous performance.

Featured Image: Chuffmedia

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