10th July 2015
ADF COMMS / BELIEVE
Does this sound familiar? You’re mooching round a festival mid-afternoon; queues at the bars are too large to be bothered with and the main stage has some shit soon-to-be-has-been indie band on. Meanwhile, huge beats are coming out of the dance tent. You stick your head inside and are hit by a wave of heat and noise. Venturing a few steps, you find yourself swaying, then dancing, then trancing out. Sometime later you realise you have no idea what time it is and you have danced yourself into a grinning high. That’s the joy of the festival dance band.
Let’s hit some cultural reference points: Underworld, Red Snapper, Afro Celt Sound System, Leftfield, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, or, if you are a traveller to other planets, Stonehenge veterans, Ozric Tentacles. Obviously enormous fun when chemically enhanced, experienced straight, they still unite the factions and generations in a field somewhere. Asian Dub Foundation have been around for approximately a zillion years and produce that classic dance tent sound with, you guessed it, an Asian flavour. A South Asian one, to be specific, dressed up with reggae, dancehall, raga and junglist – something for everyone.
Highlights are Fall Of The House Of cards, with an insanely catchy mash-up of a South Asian pop song and rushing junglist beats and Flyover 2015, which swaggers like a pirate to a ragga beat. Asian flavours are strongest in Get Lost Bashar, where we get call and response Punjabi chanting atop heavy beats and assorted intensity, and The Signal And The Noise, where Punjabi drums accompany rapping in an intensely serious swirl of guitars. Opener, Zig Zag Nation isn’t a bad starting point either; full-on tumbling rhythms drop to a reggae bass line topped with some toasting. Radio Bubblegum gets special mention for having a thumping drive and a reed organ with a sixties touch. It reprises in an extended dubbed up version at the end of the set – “Don’t touch that dial, we’ve got bullshit by the pile”.
This set is pretty intense and a bit of a headrush, fitting right into the festival season as the soundtrack to your trek to a soggy field somewhere.