For the third time now the Dub Champions Festival has graced Vienna, providing us with the presence of the living legend Lee Scratch Perry.

After a lengthily live introduction by his Viennese band Dubblestandart, the crowd fell into collective excitement as the 78-year old broke to the stage in his signature eccentric costume and a voice that triggered nostalgic memories for at least half of the ones present. The rest found the bounce in their knees, the groove in their hips – wondering what he was singing about… some recommitting to their new year’s resolution to practice their patois skills, again.

It was clear that Lee Perry still embraces the stage with full zest and enthusiasm, energetic as last year. That impression was confirmed as I found out that he had skipped the Grammy Awards (Nominated for the Best Reggae Album of the Year with ‚Back on the Controls’ on Upsetter) to be here with us in Vienna. One could see many a Rasta of the old days, who had come to pay their respects to Lee Perry. So far, so good.

RSD, aka Rob Smith, led us swiftly into the second part of the night, making a smooth transition from Dub to Dubstep, only to fuel our suspense of what was yet to come… His set was quite in line with his ‚30 Minutes of Bass Education‘ published not too long ago on FKOF, rinsing one beautiful dub plate after another. He is a bit of a legend himself. The floor was quite apparently shifting and loosening up, as the crowd settled into a proper bass mood.

Finally, as Mala walked onto the stage, the whole crowd seemed to hold their breath as well as screamed in excitement at the same time. This was what my Basstrace crew and I were waiting for! I have followed much of his work, but had never seen him live …

He ripped his set open with ‚Witness the Fitness‘ by Roots Manuva – we went mental alright. Until – the needle started skipping! The stage couldn’t handle the sub… the spell was almost broken. After a few episodes of trying to fix the problem, they had to turn the sub down, which obviously beats the nature of Dubstep and sound system music. Yet, given the fact that he is Mala, a Digital Mystik indeed and thus a magician, he picked us up right where he left off. With a little imagination of a basshead and the badness he was rinsing, we danced straight into oblivion. It was a good balance between a few bangers and a personal selection, melting and molding our brains, teasing us silly with his lop sided dubs. I was close to cramps by the time we reached the end. As we screamed for more, he graced us with two more tunes, first the prime Dubstep anthem “Anti War Dub” and afterwards ‚Is this love‘ by Bob Marley: a tribute to his recent 70th Birthday! Lights out, lighters up and a thick cloud of smoke traveling from the stage over to us – I still have weak knees and goose bumps thinking back: is this love, is this love, is this love that I’m feeling …

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