Monthly London (Plan B, Brixton)
Dot-joining future bass music that covers dubstep, d&b, UK funky, two-step and bashment
THERE has long been talk of London's clubbing axis shifting South, but it seems all that hot air is finally evaporating into a heaving, sweat-steamed mass of serious party contenders. On one end, megapower matter commands a heavyweight roster of unrivalled, cross-genre promotions. At the other, the grass-roots ethics and tastemaking music of Corsica Studios has seen them crowned Best Small Club in our recent Best Of British awards.
But one of the most surprising South-lying trailblazers is Brixton's re-opened and refurbished Plan B - home of monthly bass-session Deadly Rhythm.
One of the central forces within Plan B's rejuvenated program, Deadly Rhythm first made its name when two student mates - James Dye and Alex Surguladze aka The Deadly Rhythm Soundsystem - started bringing grime icons like Skepta and Wiley to the 300-capacity boozer of The Amersham Arms in New Cross back in Spring 2008. They sparked an instant underground buzz.
Packing the names of the moment into a tiny, compact hotbox (think dubstep heavyweights like Kode9, Benga. Skream, Oneman and Plastician), Deadly Rhythm's tipping-point hype then bubbled over when they booked Hervé, Caspa and Rusko to share deck duties in December 2008.
Roadblock outside, pure chaos in, it was their last before The Amersham Arms turfed them out for being too rowdy for their residential dwelling.
"We could have booked one big guest, but our main focus was having massive, massive nights - being the best we could in a venue that size," recalls James.
"We used to ram the venue out two or three times over which is why they kicked us out. It got too much."
Stepping up to Brixton's two-roomed Plan B in February 2009, Deadly Rhythm finally had a crib that could cope with their carnage and celebrated by booking a dubstep set from a pre-superstardom Chase & Status, DMZ's Coki and dubstep forefather Hatcha.
A debilitating fire struck Plan B soon after, leaving them to briefly venture to Shoreditch's Legion - The Gaslamp Killer, El-B and Alexander Nut all played here - but they returned when the venue reopened last October. To instant and emphatic results too.
Attracting a mixed crowd of students, art types, ravers, rudeboys and bass heads, their diverse line-ups have much to answer for on that front. Goldie's neo jungle tear-outs, Starkey's Philadelphia bass, Zomby's leftfield rave experiments and Joker's Purple funk have all rocked their main room, while the likes of The Heatwave, Cooly G, Wookie and dBridge have all played the intimate basement. While alway cohesively planned and programmed, obvious boundaries play no part in their line-ups.
"The unifying theme is bass music and we're interested in bringing together all different variants of it," explains James.
And with the monthly sessions continuing, Deadly Rhythm's role in realigning London's clubbing contours looks set to remain a pivotal one.
"People are starting to realise that there is a scene in Brixton," adds James' cohort Alex Surguladze.
"There is a lot of good music getting made down here, there are lots of artists, DJs and clubbers that are pulling together and there are some good venues. For us, Plan B is the best of its size."