Dubtribe casts a LOVE spell on Casselman's, 2/26/11
Photo by Uriah West
Dubtribe Sound System*Doc Martin
Frederick Gentry*Sunshine Jones with Jasun Lovejoy
Casselman's Bar and Venue|2.26.11
The aptly named LOVE party at Casselman's last night featured two epic sets by some of the very best names in house music, Doc Martin and Dubtribe Sound System. The headliners brought the energy up to a new level -- but first, the Tribe's own Jasun Lovejoy warmed up the crowd.
Lovejoy was doing a fantastic job holding down the decks. He spun deep, soulful house, utilizing whistling sounds, deep and gurgling sounds (much like a bong hit) and new-wave like organ lines. He worked in tried-and-tested crowd-pleasing favorites like "Disco to Disco" with bouncing bass and sibilant beats. He played among sub-genres, moving from progressive to disco house and dark to light, using:
- feel-good organ music well-suited to a happy sitcom song
- big, brassy sounds
- metallic pings
- hollow bells and rising sirens
- ominous basslines
- echoing knocks
- tribal drums
- plaintive bagpipes
His sound was varied and exciting, and by the time Doc Martin took the decks at 10 p.m., the crowd was well-primed for his stylings.
The San Francisco-based house legend was a big draw for the night; I know several people who were there specifically to see Doc. He's been active in the house-music scene since 1986, was instrumental in bringing notice to several now-famous house DJs, and you simply can't argue with the man's popularity. He started out deeper and dreamier, with synthed-out keys, low bluesy trumpets and muted saxophones. We were treated to Eddie Amador's "Not Everyone Understands House Music," led in with wild indigenous flutes, meandering beats and a growling bassline.
Martin has eclectic tastes and can easily move from dark progressive house to uplifting tribal to jazzy disco sub-genres; he played with rock-style basslines, smooth R&B sounds (like Stevie Wonder's "For Your Love"), slightly dissonant tones, techno-style beats and barking, violin lines and inspirational speeches backed by snare drums. He moved from eerie, deep, moaning tracks to a more uplifting call-and-response track featuring Spanish-speaking children. His track selection and mixing are superb -- and Martin still uses vinyl when he plays, which is fun to watch, but probably contributed to the few glitches that marred the set. Vinyl is tricky, especially in a room full of bouncing, dancing people, and the couple of times Martin mis-matched a beat, the look of frustration on his face indicated it was an equipment issue.
Martin eased out of his set with some tribal drums, so that Dubtribe could pick up the beat without interrupting the grooves on the dance floor at midnight. In fact, the group settled in on the stage floor in front of the decks, so it was difficult to see exactly what was going on unless you squeezed right in up front. For those who didn't want to brave the crowd: Sunshine Jones held down the fort on his laptop, Moonbeam played with a sampler, they both used microphones to croon their gorgeous lyrics. Surrounding them were five drummers pounding out the beat on hand drums; occasionally, Sunshine would poach a drum from the closest percussionist and wail out a beat himself.