M80 Dub Station | 12.29.08 | NYC

Words & Images by: Alex Borsody

M80 Dub Station :: 12.29.08 :: Highline Ballroom :: New York, NY

M80 Dub Station :: 12.29 :: NYC
Dubstep came from the U.K. and made a name for itself Stateside in NYC. The genre caught on through performances at Love in Manhattan with Dub War NYC, and through resident dubstep DJs Joe Nice, Passions and Star Eyes. Jon Gutwillig, better known for his lead vocals and guitar with The Disco Biscuits, had a transcendental experience at a Skream concert, one of dub's biggest artists, and has since been spinning dubstep under his DJ alias, M80 Dub Station.

Dub War NYC was exposed to a whole new audience after they were packed up by The Disco Biscuits and taken to play this year's Camp Bisco. Watching the Dub War show at the festival, it was easy to tell that the musicians were kind of blown away by the massive crowd that gathered at their tent and at how into it everybody was. It reminded me of my favorite moment in rock, when Jay-Z came out onstage with Phish at Coney Island and said, "Goddamn! Ya'll guys were hiding all this from me. I felt it!"

This evening brought together Gutwillig, Philadelphia DJ Sonkin and one of the original U.K. dubsteppers, M.R.K.1, at the Highline Ballroom. You could tell that Gutwillig really enjoys doing a live laptop show, and it has got to be something of a novelty after so many years playing rock. One of the best moments of the night was when he took out his guitar to lay some melody over the electronic rhythms, creating new and interesting cross-genre music.

M80 Dub Station :: 12.29 :: NYC
I see The Disco Biscuits as the unlikely saviors of improvisational rock, taking the movement beyond festivals into electronic and dance music realms. If it wasn't for bands like the Biscuits and STS9, the younger generation of live music fans would not be as widely exposed to the experience of long, cathartic instrumental jams, a tradition continued on from '60s psychedelia.

One thing that was consistent throughout the night was that the crowd was really into the show. This was The Disco Biscuits day off from their five-night NYE run at the Nokia and only the true fans showed up. M.R.K.1 really got the crowd moving, playing everything from Southern rap to grime to dubstep. Sonkin opened up the show and was just as much of a crowd pleaser as the main acts. M.R.K.1's set went deep into the night and the DJs took turns as well as collaborating a bit. The music seemed to get progressively louder, and when the clock struck 4 a.m. about 90-percent of the people where still there dancing. Dubstep is always super LOUD and bass heavy, and I even saw a few health conscious dancers wearing neon earplugs.

Major festivals seem to be moving away from long instrumental sets, inching towards indie rock and electronic music, which is understandable; life forms need to evolve for survival and musicians needs to evolve to stay fresh and keep up with the necessary evils of the music business. Unfortunately, people can't travel around the country playing to huge crowds on love alone. All musicians want to expand their horizons and branch out. Rappers want to make rock records and rockers want to rap and do electronica. The Disco Biscuits have progressively brought more and more electronic and hip-hop acts to Camp Bisco, culminating with last year's festival, where they shared the bill with MSTRKRFT, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and Snoop Dogg. The Disco Biscuits bridge the gap between electronic music, dance music and even hip-hop, such as their collaboration with Philadelphia rap producer Dirty Harry. Previous Camps have included such varied acts as Infected Mushroom, Slick Rick, !!! and The Roots, to name just a few.

M80 Dub Station :: 12.29 :: NYC
Branching out into dubstep is particularly interesting because it appeals to the reggae audience that is already present in the jam music scene with its slow, steady rhythms and Rasta vocals. Even the fashion of many Disco Biscuit fans is progressive and unique. Tie-dyes and dreadlocks are intermixed with sleek graphic designs and urban futurism; the band has a veritable apparel empire, everything short of an actual clothing line. Despite all these trimmings, the Biscuits still have the hard working ethic of a heavily touring jam band.

Though there will always be a place for the happy, carefree music that started the mega-festival movement, the world is becoming an increasingly dark place and many people have come to identify with music that reflects this. Dubstep is known for its dark mood, deep bass and minimalism. Dubstep uses minor chords and dissonant harmonies that create a perfect backdrop for the gothic, gritty landscape of cities like NYC, Philadelphia and Manchester. The minor chords used in dubstep have traditionally expressed darkness or tension in music. However, it can create a meditative atmosphere that is attractive to a growing audience, some of whom may otherwise not go for the more aggressive styles of jungle or drum & bass. M80 Dub Station is an ambitious project clearly undertaken out of genuine love for the music and the true creativity that comes through collaboration, experimentation and unbridled musical freedom.

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[Published on: 1/16/09]

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Comments

PickinKind starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/16/2009 02:09PM
Show -7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/16/2009 02:17PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pornofunk

^i thought that was a pretty badass moment, obviously that experience meant something too him, would you rather he stifle his opinions so it doesnt upset the all-knowledgeable jambase crowd

-hell yeah, good for you guys keep that shit comin@!

cheesehead86 Fri 1/16/2009 03:16PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I see The Disco Biscuits as the unlikely saviors of improvisational rock, taking the movement beyond festivals into electronic and dance music realms. If it wasn't for bands like the Biscuits and STS9, the younger generation of live music fans would not be as widely exposed to the experience of long, cathartic instrumental jams, a tradition continued on from '60s psychedelia.

good article, but is he serious?

Deklen Fri 1/16/2009 04:06PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Deklen

I was too beat from tDB 12/28 show to move any farther than a local pizza shop on 12/29. The show looks fun, but I feel like better things could have been reviewed from this run...something more than Barber with a guitar and laptop. Overall a great week in NYC.

if rhymes were valiums... starstarstarstar Fri 1/16/2009 04:13PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if rhymes were valiums...

cool overview of the dub aesthetic, more of a feature on the genre than a show review, right? there is not read 1 entire sentence that told what jon was playing on this evening... not one. where is the info on the MUSIC alex?

phalluscooper starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/16/2009 04:50PM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

phalluscooper

Thanks for the unexpected review Alex...all the more reason why I wish that I had made the Bisco NYE run!

Parsonsgoggles star Sat 1/17/2009 07:24AM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
O1Roggae Sat 1/17/2009 08:09AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

O1Roggae

Dj Skream is the shit

drfunkm starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/17/2009 11:54AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

drfunkm

I got nabbed up at the gas tank outside and missed the whole thing before it even started :(

Anyone there know what lyricist was on the PA right before MRK1 came on??? His words were packed tight with goodness and I have no clue who it was...

RobStarr starstarstarstarstar Sat 1/17/2009 01:34PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RobStarr

jon rocks any way you put it,thank god for the Biscuits and jon,for trying to keep things fresh and doing new things .Whats going on with Conspirator,are they ever going to tour again or maybe another Disk,the Key was great.Counting down the days to the next Camp Bisco.

mykedakyke starstarstarstar Sat 1/17/2009 04:09PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

philadelphia is not a gothic and gritty city. unexpected review. im sure it was a great show. bisco new years run was the bomb diggity.

n-1 Sun 1/18/2009 10:09AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

sorry for the sub par pics, i was having to good of the time and set the ISO too high

n-1 Sun 1/18/2009 10:11AM
+6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

what can i say i like the way bisco girls dress

n-1 Sun 1/18/2009 10:31AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

ok point taken, leave it to jambase to keep, my ego in check , but i get bored writing about the same sh*T.

farquha Sun 1/18/2009 01:57PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Alex....good article. A little look into the world of dubstep is nice, not my favorite genre, but none the less. I too see the Biscuits as one of the few remaining big acts in the improvisational rock, but on a different level than tribe all together....the two bands are going in different directions.

and bisco girls are cuties!

toaster100 starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/18/2009 02:45PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I really enjoyed this article. Why so many lame Comments...thumbs down to me probably for not being into all the negativity of the previous comments. Hell Yeah for Live Music in all Genres!!!

Ching Mon 1/19/2009 12:02PM
Show -4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Jahvision starstarstarstar Mon 1/19/2009 02:04PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Jahvision

Sounds like a great side project, I had no clue. maybe side projects are destined for this band.

RambleOnShelbyRose Mon 1/19/2009 03:19PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RambleOnShelbyRose

saw some clips of this. barber should stick to what he's good at. playing with the disco biscuits. that goes for all of them actually.

shanky95 star Mon 1/19/2009 05:55PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
headySetList starstarstarstar Mon 1/19/2009 07:22PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

headySetList

bisco, the band jamband "kids," love to hate. if they are so pathetic why read about them over and over? and read the article so thoroughly for that matter

RambleOnShelbyRose starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/19/2009 10:16PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RambleOnShelbyRose

yea because M80 dub station is not the disco biscuits. and the buffalo show was a lil more then solid. the only problem with good looking bisco gurrlls is that they are usually not single.

if rhymes were valiums... Tue 1/20/2009 05:18AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if rhymes were valiums...

i am a huge bisco fan... i critiqued this article because it didn't talk a word about what music was played. that's it. that's all...

Lakai star Tue 1/20/2009 06:29AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Lakai

my only beef with this article is as a dubstep fan and being someone who listens to a lot of dubstep, barber really just isnt a good dubstep DJ or producer. Mrk-1 on the other hand is a pioneer of the genre and I feel there should have been more focus on him in this article since he headlined or at least I thought he did since I didnt go to this show because it wasnt worth the price since you can see the sick nasty dubstep at Love for 5 hours for 10 dollars.

The1AndOnlyDJCT starstarstarstar Tue 1/20/2009 09:50AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Nice article. Wish I had been there, I've got a ton of respect for those who had energy for all 6 nights. How's Barber's DJing though, I mean was it worth paying the $25 or whatever to see him spin? But MRK-1's filthy so regardless...

pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/20/2009 01:08PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

pornofunk

might not like it but shanky's dead on...... too many people going to see live shows just to get fuct up and party, gotta remember its about the music

*for those who say "just ignore it".....impossible, I consider myself a good person and can't have fun with music when theirs a 15 year old balls deep in a k-hole right next too me.