Plastician at DUBtroit Feb. 20, 2013 Detroit Bar
Last night, DUBtroit returned to Detroit Bar for the second time this year after migrating to the Observatory in 2011, followed by a brief stint in the LA club scene. DJ teaLong, 12th Planet, Drew Best and Danny Johnson of the SMOG Records crew teamed up to bring back the monthly DJ staple, which was notorious for the best dubstep, bass, booze and babes that OC had to offer on a Tuesday night. This evening, they brought aboard U.K. bass king Plastician, not to be confused with techno king Plastikman, to take the crowd on an incredible two-hour journey from the roots of dubstep to its current North American explosion.
Naturally, the format of the night lead to a mixed crowd: older drum and bass fans and producers and young 18-and-over kids who are now being mesmerized by the dubstep community. The dim lights and low production values set the right ambiance, as Plastician, born Chris Reed, started his set with some dark, U.K. garage sounds that transformed into the grimy days of real U.K. dubstep. With cheap $9 liters of Stella and a 1:10 girl-to-guy ratio, it was hard not to let the infections womp-womps of the bass line take over as you searched the crowd for a willing dance partner. Though not as crowded as DUBtroit's inaugural comeback -- that night had special guests 12th Planet and friends -- for a rainy Tuesday night, the room was packed with bass-lovers and locals ready to let loose.
Now, I'm not gonna lie: I'm not too familiar with the old-school '90s and early 2000s dubstep imprints that shaped the sound we obsess over today, but Reed made sure to educate the crowd as he told us what year a lot of the older tracks came from. The true bass heads where loving the Plastician & Skream remixes of tracks such as the Black Ghosts' "Some Way Through This" and newbies such as myself enjoyed the downtempo synths and song selections. With island-inspired beats and few vocals, we couldn't help but want to channel our inner rastas. The vibe in the grim Costa Mesa Detroit Bar was chill and nostalgic at first, and we couldn't help but bathe that in.
The second half of Plastician's set showcased heavier beats and the thick waves of artists such as TNGHT's "Higher Ground," which had enough bass drops to make the crowd go mental with what's the future of bass music and trap in its purest essence. Now if only the place could just turn up the sound system a little so we could experience the eargasms as we were meant to. By the end of the night, the crowd was bowing down to Plastician and giving him high-fives as he stayed true to his craft and played not what we wanted to hear, but what he felt OC needed to hear. He ended with DJ Hazard & D Minds' "Mr. Happy," which ignited moshing on the dance floor. Though we love the wobble-wobble Skrillex-esque sounds, this was a refreshing taste of dubstep, and we can only look forward to what more DUBtroit has in store for us -- especially in Miami, as it hosts an epic SMOG vs. BASSHEAD party at Mecca during WMC.
Personal Bias: Not a huge dubstep fan, but I've got to hand it to Plastician and the SMOG crew because they are definitely converting me.
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Crowd: Mostly bass-heavy enthusiast dudes and some Detroit Bar locals.
Overhead In the Crowd: "This was the first dubstep album I ever bought on vinyl" -- now if only they could have told me which one it was.
Random Notebook Dump: I've noticed what a tight-knit community the dubstep people really are. Everyone from the SMOG guys to OSWLA (Skrillex's label), Mad Decent (Diplo's label) to Fool's Gold (A-Trak's imprint), though they are all different subgenres of bass-inspired music, they support one other by coming out to shows, playing one other's tracks and collaborating on music. This embodies the EDM community and what it represents, and I'm in awe every time I see it.