Rarely do Iration Steppas invite guests to play on their own sound system. Having played at SubDub a handful of times already, Deep Medi founder Mala was an obvious choice. The inclusion of Kahn perhaps reflected the rising popularity of grime in recent times.
Having only caught the end of the first Iration-OBF set, it certainly wasn’t a case of taking it easy before the guests came on. Following this, Mala took over playing a set of fairly upbeat and heavily electronic dubstep, contrasting from the usually slow, spacious and instrumental style of his productions. This was a shame given that it was likely Kahn would play a similar sort of set. It’s rare to hear anything other than dub on such a loud and bass-heavy sound system and so it would have been interesting to hear Mala’s more downtempo style come through. My personal preferences aside the crowd at Vox was one of the most energetic I’ve ever seen; ‘Skeng’ by The Bug caused an almighty ruckus. Also by playing in this style Mala allowed for two straight hours of upbeat dubstep and grime rather than a disjointed main room of multiple styles. Kahn’s set featured some impressive grime instrumentals although I felt he sometimes veered too close to the American style with a trap song even finding its way into the mix.
Loefah did a good job of keeping room 2 busy, playing a superb set of predominantly mid-90s jungle. At times the bpm was so high the breaks almost decended into a drill-n-bass frenzy. Rotating back to the main room Iration Steppas and OBF were back on playing to an altogether emptier room. Although the music was infallible it seemed a shame to have Mala and Kahn only play one-hour sets.
The support for the two headliners proved that the demand for dubstep is certainly still strong. The night as a whole was a celebration of British underground music: jungle, dubstep and grime all mixed on vinyl and welcomed by sound system culture – to which they have much to thank.