Gritsy feat. 12th Planet, The Dub Commission and Tangles Warehouse Live January 15, 2011
See pics from Gritsy (including the iconic Gritsicle) in our slideshow.
Aftermath first heard about Dubstep in 2007, and immediately felt an immense attraction to the music's personality. Sure, you're better off enjoying the power of the wobbling basslines at a good club with an above-average set of speakers, but the chilled-out-meets-foreboding moods, tempos and grooves that serve as the hallmarks of this burgeoning subgenre are also ready-made for relaxing and vibing out at home.
At its core, Dubstep combines elements of two-step and garage from the dance-music scene with the heavy low-end vibes found in old-school reggae and dub soundsystems. Throw in a hefty dash of grime - the style of rap/hip-hop promulgated by Dizzee Rascal and B L A C K I E - and you have an idea of exactly how retro-futuristic dubstep really is.
Though you'd think that such a style of music might have trouble finding a foothold in this town, Gritsy has been throwing Dubstep parties in Houston since 2006, and has recently started making strides to increase its profile into the larger electronic-music scene.
Aftermath and our trusty photographer friend entered the doors around 9 p.m., only to find a rather subdued crowd. We knew that would be the case, especially since the festivities were scheduled to last until 3 a.m. Strolling about the floor, we marveled at The Wall of Bass - 15 18-inch bass cabinets stacked three high into five piles - and prepared our ears to be properly assaulted.
We were quite impressed with the demographic range of the partygoers. Hip-hop types mingled freely with dressed-up preppy types looking to dance here instead of at a Washington Avenue club. The crowd did somewhat skew towards the younger side of the twentysomething spectrum, causing Aftermath to occasionally feel like an older brother chaperoning our younger sister's college house party.
Yet for all of our crowd-watching, as Aftermath attempted to parse the class, race, and scene lines for easy description, we were consistently amazed at how chill and relaxed the mood was in the room. People were there to have a great time, and they weren't going to let much get in the way of that.
Musically, The Dub Commission and 12th Planet put on a fantastic show, trading DJs every 30 minutes or so in order to keep the sound fresh and the energy pumping. The DJ booth featured a familiar new-school setup: Two vinyl turntables, two CD turntables, a large mixer, and a laptop with Serato scratch software.
Use of the decks varied widely, however, depending upon each DJ's personal style. The night stayed true to the roots and forefront of the Dubstep scene, though, as dub and reggae mingled easily with both grime sensibilities and electro-glitch aesthetics.
Aftermath's favorite DJ of the evening was a bubbly, engaging blonde woman named Tangles. Not only did she keep up the energy during her set - even when the music itself wasn't necessarily upbeat - she worked the crowd whenever possible, meshing together thrumming basslines with a hefty batch of quirky sound effects, doing so with a deft touch that would make Joker and Zomby proud.
We were also impressed by the work of 12th Planet, especially around 11 p.m., when they crafted a spaced-out but strong sound that quickly called to mind the best work from Kode9.
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At times, Aftermath felt that the tunes were a bit too vocal-heavy with the samples, and the personable MC was often too gregarious in leading the crowd, but those are personal preferences. We prefer our Dubstep a bit icier and more ominous in tone; call it a preference for Manchester over London.
Overall, DJ Suraj and his Gritsy team put together a great night. The music was a great, diverse representation of Dubstep and Dubstep-inspired club-ready music), and the crowd ate it up consistently and hungrily.
By midnight, the floor of the Warehouse Live Ballroom appeared to be at nearly 70 percent capacity, and it was filled with hot, sweaty dancers of all shapes, sizes, and interest levels, from young couples grinding against each other to solo artists tweaking out to black-clad sourpusses bobbing their heads and bodies in time to the bass thumps.
We're certainly not going to wait another two years before our next Gritsy show.