Tes La Rok @ Ambar, Perth (14/11/08)
Mon 17th Nov, 2008 Event Reviewsin
I think I would struggle to convey properly on paper the sound that assaulted my ears when I descended into the faux-smoky confines of Ambar in the wee hours of last night. It went kind of like “whumpf-whumpf-whumpf-wowowowowow-whumpf-whumpf-whumpf” ... oh never mind!
Suffice to say, it was booming, grinding, bass heavy and bone shaking; strong enough to rattle the building’s foundations. In fact, from the ladies’ toilets (note to venue: these always seem to be filthy and yuk with dirty water-doused floors and need attending to pronto) it sounded like the roof was crumbling onto the dance-floor.
Welcome to the world of dub step, a slowed down, smacked out version of drum n’ bass dumped into a pot with reggae samples and mixed with two-step beats. Usually on Friday nights at Ambar, wide-eyed muscle men and club babes storm the dance floor to frenetic breaks –-last night, they slowed down to a bobbing, head-nodding, two-steppin’ pace and took a while to find their feet.
The testosterone was palpable in the room, even when locals Rekab and MC Tenacity had control of the decks, and seemed to swell and gather force as every booming tune dropped on the room. La Rok was a late starter on the night, not taking to the decks until 1am when the crowd was full and sweaty on the dancefloor. La Rok has good pedigree: for the uninitiated, he is one of the masters of the burgeoning scene who hails from Helsinki, Finland and the owner of Noppa Recordings, a dub step label housing pioneers from the scene from all over the world.
It was an interesting crowd that turned out to see his debut in Perth – a handful of Doc Marten clad emos, a smattering of summery looking girls and a whole lotta cap wearin’, arm pumping, baggy pant clad boys who threw themselves into the stoner-paced beats. Less music to dance to than to shuffle the feet to, it was powerful stuff which threatened to bust the speakers and the eardrums (or both) and created an almost overwhelming atmosphere on the dance floor which required regular breaks.
When my friends and I retired to the leatherette seats for a breather from the smoke machine and farty, sweaty boys, we noticed we could continue to watch La Rok on one of several flat screen TVs mounted on walls around the club. Thanks to some electronic trickery, it looked as though the venerable DJ and producer was performing with a giant red phallus behind him! An optical illusion? Perhaps, or it could have been a signifier of the enormous amount of male energy coursing through the room!
By the time we left the club, our ears were ringing and life felt like it had slowed down to some otherworldly pace. With summer on its way, that surely cannot be a bad thing…