Croydub Easter Bunday @ Black Sheep Bar, Croydon 08.04.12

Dubstep's original mystic mouthpiece Sgt Pokes and a host of others helps celebrate a little spot of Croydon culture.

Apr 8th, 2012 at Black Sheep Bar, Croydon / By Matthew Bayfield
Croydub Easter Bunday @ Black Sheep Bar, Croydon 08.04.12 It's fair to say that the past 18 months or so have probably been something of a bumpy ride for the London Borough of Croydon's tourism board. When your most noteworthy appearances on national news have been for the razing of a 140 year old historical furniture store amidst the 2011 summer riots and the disgusting tirades of a drunk single mum on a tram, asking people if they'd like to visit to Croydon with little more than the cultural allure of pottering about the Whitgift Centre in a gripping re-enactment of Terry & June's opening credits is potentially the dictionary definition of "tough sell".

Thankfully Croydon has something of an ace up it's sleeve in the culture department, in that it can pretty much certifiably call itself the home of dubstep, with names such as Skream and Benga being only the most visible branches on an evermore expansive family tree. Sgt Pokes and the rest of the Croydub family therefore took one for the team by organising another Croydub event at the Black Sheep Bar on Croydon high street. No disrespect to the tourism boys but they should probably take the afternoon off.

Starting things with another slice of Croydon culture was a quick dinner at Tacolisa. Possibly the only takeaway in London which could be considered a dubstep heritage site. I'm fully aware this isn't a restaurateurs column, but frankly their food is integral to Croydon's nightlife and literally powered half of the acts performing, so all you Michelin Star boys can fuck off back to your big square 'Gastropub' plates with bijou drizzles of whatever bollocks, for the tacoman cometh and he's armed with hot pepper wraps and little boxes of cheesy nachos

Kicking off early and warming the venue with some thick, atmospheric bass pressure was newest Wheel & Deal signing Surge, before long-time grafter Raggs took to the decks briefly for the first of two sets that night. Original don, one third of chart bashing Magnetic Man and general all round pro Artwork then made an appearance and took things to ground early with a set spanning the roots of all this bass related magic, alongside the nothing short of legendary Benny Ill of Horsepower Productions, a man who has been a figure in this scene so long rumour has it his original dubplates were delivered by Stegosaurus, dropping amongst other things, some variations on garage music of the rare as unicorn shit assortment as always to the vocal tones of the ever animated Sgt Pokes

Another original, DJ Hatcha joined by tastemakers Oneman & Crazy D were then left to pile in and take things right back to their roots with a blend of some classic old school garage, all aptly narrated by the vocal skills of Mighty Moe, and expertly rounded off with some groundbreaking dubstep numbers to the tune of Benga & Coki's 'Night' and Skream's perennial 'In For The Kill' remix. You know things are definitely going well when even the doormen stood at the rear of the dance can't stop raving. With some historic cuts under the belt it was time for Wheel & Deal label boss N-Type & Biscuit Factory Records don Walsh to take it to the decks, with Pokes once again keeping pace on the pipes. As was standard procedure throughout the night the momentum never dropped below frantic, with numerous dancefloor bombs being deployed in expertly mixed succession on a soundsystem of substantial weight. Chefal & Bluesy kept the variety up in their set with a sly dip into drum & bass tempos, whilst Raggs combined with Hizzleguy, proving again that gender is nothing but an irrelevance by dropping possibly the heaviest set of the night whilst simultaneously making it look effortless to get a crowd foaming at the mouth without having to step into the overcooked midrange bass sound currently prevalent at many shows, with added weight courtesy of one half of duo Stinkahbell; female MC Janset handling mic duties throughout. It was then up to T_Macabre of Cambridge's Stink Like Sock collective to finish the night, largely with heavyset darker vibes from the likes of Truth, Distance & Coki, with James Blake's remix of Untold's 'Stop What You're Doing' providing the perfect wonky flourish to an expertly executed night for a Bearded lowlife with ringing ears and a gypsy wedding's worth of Guinness slap boxing his liver.

With that it was then a simple case of testing the Zen like patience of Croydon's most tolerant taxi driver into giving me a half price ride home so I could make one last blissful stop at Tacolisa for a much needed breakfast. Alas every man has their limits and sadly his were £6.50, and Bearded was forced to depart with a rich sense of musical history, and a mild sense of peckishness.

Until next time thrifty Roadrunner...