Bristol’s second annual inner city festival kicks off on the 21st of September, here we explore some of the most exciting names on the line-up for 2019…
Tokyo World began properly in 2013, although the team behind it were throwing regularly huge events across Bristol for at least a decade before this. The Tokyo Dub parties at critically acclaimed super-club Motion are now a thing of legend, and it was no surprise when the promoters unveiled their plans to throw a festival initially at Castle Park. The first iteration had an absolutely outstanding line-up, one that touched base on all corners of the thriving Bristol music scene. Huge names such as Jackmaster, Loefah, P Money and Zed Bias graced the stage at the inaugural Tokyo World (still at this point called Tokyo Dub), setting the standard for future years in the most perfect of ways.
As time went on the festival grew larger and larger, quickly becoming the perfect way for many likeminded punters to kick off the new university year. It wasn’t long before the initial capacity of Castle Park was rendered too small, subsequently resulting in the move to Bristol’s bigger Eastville Park. Here Tokyo World was able to expand far past its not exactly humble Motion roots, with increasingly elaborate stage production bringing the festival closer to such iconic events as the Boomtown Fair and Glastonbury. And, of course, as the festival got evermore popular the organisers could book an exponentially more exciting cast of artists, getting to the point where every single major dance music scene was very well represented.
Moving into 2019 this may just be the biggest iteration of Tokyo World yet; with a huge number of top-tier artists performing across the five extravagantly designed stages. Each one is distinct and packed with awe-inspiring production value, the likes of which you really have to see in person to get the full experience. There is the Tokyo Stage, Hedonism Stage, World Stage, Mutiny Stage and Pulse Stage, each one with a different set of the UK’s best underground artists. There are far too many to talk about in length here, but read on for our pick of some of the best names at this year’s Tokyo World festival…
De La Soul
Saturday’s main headliners De La Soul have been frontrunners in the music business since the late 1980s, delivering a refreshingly light-hearted and humorous take on Hip-Hop that paved the way for countless other alternative groups like The Pharcyde. Listening to tracks like “Me Myself And I “ you just cannot help but smile, a trait that is to be admired, especially in the realm of Hip-Hop.
Over the years De La Soul have also contributed to countless projects from other artists too, most notably the smash-hit Gorillaz single “Feel Good Inc.”. Their influence on the worlds of contemporary Funk, Jazz and Soul should not be overlooked either. You don’t often get the chance to see the trio live in the flesh, so this is an opportunity that cannot be ignored.
Rising to fame as a result of the incredibly well received BBC mockumentary People Just Do Nothing, the fictional pirate radio station Kurupt FM have since become a must-see live act due to their ingenious blend of comedy and genuinely good MC and DJing performances. If you’re into old school UK Garage, Grime and Jungle, and also have a pungent for comedy, this one is certainly for you.
The crew very recently shut down a Keep Hush party at the Nando’s Yard, proof that, although the programme is no longer running, Kurupt FM are still very much alive and kicking. You may not find a performance with more energy at this year’s Tokyo World – definitely not a set that should be missed!
Few producers to come out of the UK Bass explosion of the last few years have experienced quite as much success as the Brighton born Distinkt. His release “Chinatown” caused shockwaves in the entire scene on its release in “2017”, with its unique low-end bassline shutting down raves up and down the country. This was Distinkt’s proper entry into widespread acclaim, something he has only built on in the years after.
2019 looks to be one of the most exciting years yet for this still very young producer, with his new EP “Potion” having been released on Diplo’s influential label Mad Decent. Worldwide domination beckons for the incredibly versatile artist, and with a serious amount of unreleased heat in his back-catalogue his sets continue to impress.
The widely acknowledged “Prince of UKG” Conducta has been on a mission to highlight the genre’s resurgence over the past couple of years, something that he has more than succeeded in doing. His new imprint Kiwi Rekords has very quickly become a pivotal force in the new school of UK Garage, with artists such as Sharda, Sammy Virji, Mind Of A Dragon and the man himself finding a home on it.
UK Garage hasn’t been in such a healthy state since the early 2000s, and a lot of this is down to the Bristolian DJ. He secured a UK Top 10 single with the track “Ladbroke Grove” taken from AJ Tracey’s debut album – the sky is the limit for this young producer. You cannot hate UK Garage now, can you? Get to the World Stage for a proper taster of the modern sound of the genre.
The world of Drum & Bass has experienced a shift in recent years, with the aggressive and stripped back “Rollers” sound gaining a lot of traction within the scene. Much of that is down to Benny L’s huge impact, a producer who has seemingly struck the golden formula between old-school Jungle tropes and modern, powerful production techniques.
Indeed, this year’s “Vanta Black” EP released on the legendary Metalheadz imprint solidified his position in the Drum & Bass world. It is an absolute behemoth of a track, with a growling bass that sounds like it was recorded deep inside the core of the earth, as tectonic plates slowly rumble against each other. Benny L’s music is at once cinematic and pulverising – a combination that should not be overlooked.
Bristol has always been synonymous with sound-system culture, and in the early 90s it was second only to London in terms of Jungle’s burgeoning popularity. There is no surprise then that this kind of music is still very much part of the city’s cultural fabric, hence why the Chopstick Dubplate collective’s appearance at Tokyo World is being met with so much excitement.
Comprised of Aries, Jacky Murda, DJ Tuffist and King Yoof, the crew are an incendiary live outfit, blending the worlds of classic Jungle and Reggae with more modern strains of Drum & Bass. As you might expect from their name, Chopstick Dubplate have all manner of special dubplates, and their sets are subsequently made up of largely unreleased music – don’t miss it!
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