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Adam F & DJ Fresh @ POW - 25.11.2004

Author: Cameron Adams
Thursday, 2 December 2004
Adam F & DJ Fresh @ the Prince of Wales, 25/11/2004
It's been a while since I caught some drum and bass, so what better way to reintroduce myself than to spend a night in the company of Adam F and DJ Fresh -- two of the most influential producers and spinners in the drum and bass world. I didn't expect thursday night at the Prince of Wales to be terribly busy, but when these guys drop into town the Melbourne massive turn out in numbers.

K-Oscillate were still playing at midnight; their evil, throbbing bass setting the tone for the rest of the night. There's nothing quite like the drums in a live drum and bass act, it's such a free and energetic sound. This was well evident in K-O's set and in the follow up from BLX. BLX's sound was hard to place, but it certainly got the floor moving. Lead guitar, bass, drums and MC combined with the sequencers to product some really varied sounds. The start had an almost ska-like bounce to it, but the lead guitar consistently kept BLX's rock influences firmly in your head as they traversed from atmospheric, to nasty and dark, and just plain rocking. The end of their set ended a bit anti-climactically -- the members downing instruments and about a minute's silence following while Ruxspin cued up some old-school jungle on the decks.

He managed about three records before the main men sidled up behind him and started organising themselves. Adam F had previously stated that he probably wasn't going to do a versus set, but I think that the sheer energy coming from the crowd might have changed his mind. Gone was the need for a journey, a build-up, or any floating, atmospheric filler. As he stepped in and dropped Redman's screaming introduction, the crowd went wild. From the time the first beats battered their way through the Prince's sound system until their last notes, him and DJ Fresh didn't let up.

I'll admit, it wasn't quite the sound that I'd been expecting. My familiarity with Adam F's album "Colours" had lead me to think that he might lean towards an LTJ Bukem-style sound. Lush, atmospheric drum and bass. But back to back with DJ Fresh, the pair pounded out sub-woofer-rattling bass monsters and jungle-style ragga numbers for three hours with little reprieve. Not that any was needed. The crowd went crazy for every new bass line, for every rewind (and there were many), and for every heart stoppingly crunchy breakbeat. It was impossible to stop dancing.

BLX's MC stayed onboard for the first part of F & Fresh's set to provide some vocal support, but although he'd provided some nice flowing rhymes for the live set, his limited repartee with the DJs soon became annoying. If I hear the words "make some fucking noyeeeeeezzzzzz!" again, I might just crack. In contrast, his replacement -- Dynamite MC -- was one of the most brilliant masters of ceremony that I've seen. MC Conrad has his own, incomparably laidback style, but it's still very much spoken word. Dynamite MC runs as easily through rapid streams of jump-up verbiage as he does while caressing soulful lyrics over the top of emotional breakdowns. Inventive and entertaining; truly an artist in his own right.

My highlights were the few moments of musical reprise in their set -- deep and beautiful tracks that worked perfectly in between the furious sounds that they were sandiwched between. But the duo's sound as a whole was still fautless: perfect for a wild party vibe. The result was that their three hours were over all too quickly. A teasing finale of Moby's seminal "Go" in a drum and bass style was followed up with their absolute, final encore of the Fugees' "Ready or Not" remix. Then, as Dynamite said, they were off to drink and smoke some weed with all of us, and no doubt get the congratulations they truly deserved.
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