Anyone who has been captivated or just remotely interested in the dubstep genre will have gleaned the following facts. 1 - dubstep began to filter through the underground during the late '90s. 2- key locations associated with the ground-trembling sound include Norwood, Thornton Heath and the old Big Apple record-shop in Croydon. 3 - important players in its initial resurgence are considered to be El-B, Zed Bias, Skream (and the Tempa label), Kode 9, Hatcha and, not surprisingly, the late John Peel, followed by another Radio 1 DJ, Mary Anne Hobbs.
Another respected name in amongst the movers, wobblers and shakers is one Beni Uthman, an East London producer, musician and remixer, otherwise widely known as Benga. For the past decade, alongside his co-conspirators Coki, Hatcha, Skream and Artwork, Benga's head-griddling basslines and cat-scaring rhythms have soundtracked the everyday grind in the less glamorous of South London neighbourhoods, many of which have appeared on Shoreditch's Tempa imprint including 'Night', the near-crossover collaborative 12" with Coki, issued in 2008. With its cheeky bleeps and swaggery shuffle, the instrumental divided purists, yet it began a club smash nonetheless. Suddenly, every neighbourhood across the UK was starting to 'get' dubstep.
Benga's heavyweight album 'The Diary of an Afro Warrior' saw his image placed at the front of High Street music stores, possibly for the last time, judging by the latter's current commercial fortunes, all of which leaves dubstep and other sub-genres in a quandary - how to survive with little exposure. Sure, you can head to certain vinyl-pushers in the biggest cities but bills have to be paid. There is one answer - play 'live' and play festivals. With the huge audiences now being enjoyed by Chase and Status and Benga's side-project Magnetic Man, it seems to make financial sense. And Benga will continue to embrace this large-scale directive with his forthcoming UK tour!
First stop is in Brighton on Friday 24th Feb, followed by Plymouth, Swansea, Coventry and more during the next month or so, including bigger club-nights in Bristol (the beautifully-tagged Shit the Bed night at Motion), Sankey's Metropolis in Manchester and the dubstep/drum'n'bass club-crossbreed Valve Soundsystem in Sheffield (also features Lemon D and Loadstar).
His own events featuring Youngman weigh in at a tenner or less, while the bigger line-ups command prices from £12 to £17. Book now to avoid queuing up in the freezing cold!