Review: Vagabondz w/ Loefah, Zed Bias, Dark Sky, Icicle

Loefah, Zed Bias,
Dark Sky, Icicle
Leeds University Union
Saturday 13th October

The set up for this night was a little unusual: with Stylus closed down, Mine played host to the headliners, whilst Pulse was taken over by the impressive, up and coming Brotherhood Sound System clique. Although the setting in LUU’s two smaller clubs did make the night impressively sweaty (there’s nothing impressive about sweat – Ed.), it also created a nice atmosphere and meant the massive sound systems could deliver their full dance floor shattering potential.

All the headliners brought a ridiculous range of music to their sets although they all shared a common affectation for bass and wobble. Loefah and Zed Bias have been around in the rave scene for ages and seem to have absorbed every sub-genre of electronic music they’ve come into contact with. Drawing on this experience, they threw a bit of everything into their sets with bass-heavy house, garage, dub, broken beat, electro and techno all warped together with countless samples of everything from hip-hop to Martin Luther King, thrown over the top to create what Loefah refers to affectionately as ‘swamp shit’.

Throwing Snow and Dark Sky both put forward a master class in bass-saturated dark house music. This was not the poppy cheerful house music that has found its way onto a lot of dance floors in Leeds, but shadowy angry house music that Freddie Kruger probably listens to before killing puppies and generally being evil. I was flagging around 3am, so the arrival of Icicle followed by Jubei was perfectly timed. Icicle has a unique style, with techno-influenced DnB breaks of immaculate precision that bring real warmth to his sets. Jubei carried on where Icicle left off, with that dark shogun audio style of drum & bass that rounded off the night perfectly.

The Brotherhood Sound Sytem residents deserve a mention, giving a showcase of DnB in all its many forms. Up and coming and deservedly so, Brotherhood have only been about in Leeds for a year and are already co-hosting Vagabondz, so definitely one to watch. Special mention goes to MC Splinter who was hosting the room, for some outstanding lyrical ability exemplified by managing to work Gangnam Style lyrics into his freestyle at one point.

words: Will Gadsby Peet

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