As the Sir Coxsone crew know all too well, ‘interest in reggae sound systems is currently at an all-time high’. The past few years have seen talks and exhibitions, dances, books and albums dedicated to the Jamaican-born, UK-adapted culture, with figureheads like David Rodigan and Norman Jay MBE broadcasting its virtues to the masses, while day-to-day diligence from DJs, selectors and MCs has kept the sound rooted firmly to the ground, up and down the country.
The original Jamaican and British sound systems, by which we mean the collectives themselves, didn’t always have a lot of money and equipment to play with. Instead they were resourceful, they got to know their equipment, be that through trial and error or electrical engineering studies as in the case of Mikey Dread, and hung their hats upon the performance of their rigs when ‘clash’ or carnival arose. Some even made their own and could boast a truly bespoke sound as a result!
When sound systems like Notting Hill mainstays Channel One and Outernational can bring their gear out to play, it packs an almighty punch and certainly looks the part, but when they can’t, it’s venues like Band on the Wall that tick their all-important audio boxes; after all, what good are a ‘sound system’ without a top notch sound system!
Come Saturday 13th January and the Culture Clash event featuring Channel One, Coxsone Outernational and Aba Shanti, you can expect bottomless bass lines, punchy percussion and high-end precision courtesy of the venue’s purpose-installed L’Acoustics amplification, subwoofers and flown arrays while resting assured that whatever the selectors play, it will sound as jaw-dropping as you’ve ever heard it in a small venue! There’s a reason why reggae, DnB, house and funk & soul DJs alike bring their sound here, check out a throwback to 2012 for a flavour of reggae sound at the club.
Photo: Mad Professor at Band on the Wall, 15th March 2016