Dubbed Out may only just be metaphorically starting promoter pre-school, but this event showed an ambition and shrewdness beyond its years. With an amazing venue and an incredible lineup, the only thing missing was a good crowd, however with the venue – Mojo, being located in the Medway town of Chatham, we had our doubts whether enough people would make it down...
Thankfully we needn't have worried! The venue had a fairly small capacity, which was never too packed but never risked being dead. The main stage was perfection – an outdoor courtyard that looked more like something you'd expect to see in Croatia than a Medway town; with great sound as well!
We arrived having driven straight from SW4, which meant we unfortunately missed a number of headliners. Notably - Friction, Phaeleh and J:Kenzo who would have no doubt been highlights otherwise. Kahn & Neek were setting up as we entered, giving us time to take advantage of the cheap drinks on offer. Since the stage was semi-outdoors punters were allowed to smoke next to the stage which was a welcome trip back to the days before the 2007 smoking ban - a great addition to the venue as it ensured people weren't constantly coming and going for a fag break.
Excitement and anticipation filled the air (almost as much as the smell of cannabis), and Kahn & Neek placed their first records onto the turntables. Neek had a wide grin on his face - he knew what was coming. Modern classics, and an onslaught of VIPs and dubplates all underpinned by a flow of pure fire emanating from the ridiculously talented MIK. The levels got higher and higher - with so many high points and brilliant tunes it would be impossible to pick out any favourites. Bravo, Kahn & Neek.
Next up on the main stage was Hatcha. At this point we didn't even realise there was two rooms - one would have been more than enough (but Dubbed Out don't seem to do half measures). His set starts with the classic Digital Mystikz anthem 'Anti War Dub', which highlights a sense of unity and fellowship between the buzzing crowd – dubstep is dead? Nah.
Hatcha's set, as per usual, fucking kills it. Banger after banger after absolute banger, perfectly mixed, perfectly timed, and with so much smoke (a la smoke machines) this DJ Mag reviewer literally couldn't see an inch in front of his face. Perfection.
As we took a breather from the main stage, we found the whole second stage we'd been missing - an indoor bar with a huge soundsystem that compliments it's small tunnel-like room perfectly. We were absolutely gutted to have missed N-type playing the second room, as he was half the reason we'd made the long journey down from London. We were concilated however, by some truly beautiful burgers being made at a stand outside, for £2?! This venue...
After catching a brilliant set from Chef we stopped for honestly one of the best dubstep mixes I've heard in a long long while from newcomer Max Mudie, I don't know whose tunes he was playing (apparently his own productions), but he managed to make a room of about 10 people go absolutely nuts without breaking a sweat, and pulled in a sizeable crowd despite Grooverider absolutely smashing the main stage. Bigups Max!
Then for the main event, Newham Generals on the main stage. In all honesty, this is what we made the journey for, Footsie and D Double are absolutely killing the scene at the moment (as per usual) and the slight chance that they might spit over some Kahn and Neek was just too mouth watering a prospect. After setting up they wasted no time on going in hard.
'Bluku Bluku' and 'Work All Day' kicked things off with a bang and started building the hype after they had taken a while setting up. Cheers errupted when what at first we thought was Shotta taking to the stage with the generals turned out to be MC Discarda. Admittedly, this DJ Mag reviewer has never been a fan of Discarda, but this certainly was not the right gig for him. Thankfully, after a bad crowd reaction to him nonsensically shouting down the mic, he quickly got off the stage and left the Newham Generals to recover...
The generals showed their mettle building the vibe from scratch again - some new Footsie tunes and Trend's hypnotized rework under D Double's 'Wolly' brought the levels back high. Footsie's 'Wave It Down' also a notabled highlight...
And then the crowd starts to hear a familiar chant slowly being brought in.
'Ard...ard...man are locked in like dem man are hard...' Three rewinds weren't enough for this tune, to say the crowd went nuts was an understatement. Easily the best grime this reviewer has ever heard live, the crowd hung off of the general's every word and chanted it back like it was a fucking gospel. From then on the set was a walk in the park - every tune killed it. Our dreams even came true when Logan played a Kahn and Neek riddim for the duo to spit over, safe to say we weren't dissapointed.
Massive thanks to Dubbed Out and Hatcha for the event and much love to all the great people who came down. Hope to see more events in the future!