Uprite dub Orchestra, Roots Revolution, Selectah Cansaman
Conan’s Pub, 3862 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Saturday, Jan. 25, 9 p.m. 21+
Siamese, Systemwide, DJ Magneto
Friday Jan. 24
316 S.W. 11th Ave.
9 p.m. $8. 21+
To dub is to transfer recorded material onto a new recording medium. A dub is the new sound added by dubbing. Dub, the musical genre, mostly associated with reggae, basically developed in Jamaica as studiophiles made copies of popular rhythm tracks, dropped most vocals, tweaked the bass and added many new surreal sounds.
The dub and reggae niche slowly made a stateside movement into culture, and Portland is no exception. Two shows this weekend showcase the dubwise and eclectic sounds of local groups.
This Friday, Portland’s genre-bending dub group Systemwide will co-headline with Seattle’s live drum ‘n bass outfit Siamese at the Fez.
Saturday brings the first Kulcha fi de Massive (that’s culture for the masses) show and features the Uprite dub Orchestra, Roots Revolution and Selectah Cansaman.
Promoters of the Kulcha event, Universal Roots Reggae and Dubaliscious Productions, want the night to be the first in a series of shows that will “bring unity to different crews for a celebration of music and culture … and strives to bring forward the best local urban music to the forefront of the Portland music scene.” Lets hope there’s more.
The Uprite dub gangs also co-headline the weekly “Tuesday Night Special” at Mt. Tabor pub. It’s one of only a few live music weeklies, and the band gets to stretch out their dub, reggae, ska, jazz, funk and hip-hop chops with the addition of great guests. At the Kulcha event, expect to see the one-year-old six-piece band get jiggy with a full horn section, a tight rhythm unit and the guest vocals of Olivia Warfield, a talented singer also of Tuesday night cohorts Money & Lovin and the R&B project Silky.
Appearing with the Uprite crew will be Roots Revolution. They infuse roots reggae with the more accessible dancehall style. These musicians have a polished sound, which comes from rocking the Monday night reggae jams as well as opening prominent reggae shows at the Red Sea. Vocalist Jaga hails from Montego Bay, Jamaica. Drummer Sterling Gordon, has recorded with U.K. reggae star Kingsley at the legendary Channel One studios. The ensemble has also been a house band at the Mt. Tabor pub’s Monday night reggae jams.
As an opener, closer and all-around dead-air killer, Selectah Cansaman will select appropriate cuts throughout the night. Hailing from the East Coast, Cansaman has been dropping platters around the area for eight years and operates the Universal Roots store. He throws down every Thursday night at Conan’s Pub and Friday night at the Red Sea.
Friday night’s shindig at the Fez, perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing club in town, is being put on by the local 4th Rail productions crew. They are responsible for the “Eclectic Electric” nights at the Good Foot and focus on booking modern electronic styles with creative and organic elements.
Headliners will be Seattle’s Siamese. They play a live-instrument interpretation of drum-‘n-bass and jungle – styles mostly represented on the wheels of steel.
Old-school Portland dub monster Systemwide co-headlines. They manage to create the tripped-out sonics of dub without help from many electronics and bring an almost punk-rock intensity to the mid-tempo hypnotic grooves of their live sets. The drummer beats the crap out of his kit without missing a beat while the turntable and gizmologist create sounds; the frontman tweaks everything out, plays percussion and sings a line; and the bassist holds it all together.
They’ve been receiving positive nationwide press for their recent album “Pure and Applied” and the recent “Live at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal” – both on the Portland label they run, BSI. They’ve been dubbed “future” and “militant” dub and more aptly as “genre dissolving,” which is obvious at shows when such a mixed group of people all get down. Systemwide is indeed a treasure of Portland’s local music scene.
Friday’s bill also includes DJ Magneto, a longtime PDX DJ who will keep the Fez atmosphere going throughout the night with sets inspired by the live acts.
Both Friday and Saturday’s shows have a perfect line-up: two bands and a DJ. This allows the live acts to stretch out and get equal shares of the attention while the DJ makes sure there’s no down time and provides some recorded reference points and education. Let there be culture for the masses indeed.