On Friday the 15th of February nationwide Dubstep heavyweights Freerange bring a truly outrageous, sternum rattling, line-up to the coast of Brighton.
No strangers to a frankly ludicrous 140 drenched line-up, Freerange have been quietly making a name for themselves in Brighton, Bristol and beyond over the last decade. You may have seen their ridiculous "10 Years of Freerange" series last year, a jam-packed 10 city-wide tour that brought some of the heaviest billings one can find in the UK right now. If they weren't on any self-respecting UK underground music aficionado's map they certainly were after that. And there's no sign of things slowing down, post tour they have continued to churn out some of the biggest events this side of the Atlantic.
Up next in Brighton, Freerange make their Concorde 2 debut, a considerable step up in size from the likes of Sticky Mike's, Patterns and The Arch. Along with venue size comes a significantly beefed up stack of artists, all consistent heavy weights in the burgeoning UK Dubstep scene. Coki, Kahn & Neek, Commodo and Sgt. Pokes all join the party, a perfectly weighted list oscillating between the new and old schools of the genre. These guys are also all firm favourites for the events company, perfectly emblematic of the sound that Freerange are pushing with a brand that is quickly becoming more than just a brand.
Coki is a veteran of the 140 scene; he has been there from the start and helped to push this grassroots underground genre to the forefront of the public consciousness with a slew of fantastic releases. For instance, "Night" a collaboration with Benga, paved the way for a new influx of fans that may not have instantly identified with the crushing meditative bass of the most dubstep records. Moreover, his work with Mala under the alias Digital Mystiks has adopted almost mythical status, with tracks such as "Anti-War Dub" and performances across the world contributing to their significance. Coki is a relatively rare face on the Brighton circuit, for years he wasn't DJing much at all, however after his sell-out appearance at Patterns in late 2017 the latent interest in this iconic producer has hit new levels again.
Next up, Kahn & Neek bring in the new school of Dubstep, along with an eclectic range of influences from Grime and classic sound-system culture. One of the few true vinyl enthusiasts around in the modern day, these guys have a heavy arsenal of specials and dubplates that can send a dance floor into complete chaos. It's no fluke that the duo were awarded with a Fabric Live compilation mix in 2016, and since then they have gone from strength to strength. Perhaps the most important aspect Kahn & Neek have brought to the scene is their deftly fluid merger of Dubstep and Grime, two genres that, whilst closely related, were never as intimate with each other as they could be. Regulars on the UK DJ circuit and for good reason, the duo's set is not be missed, there will be dubplates galore, as well as an array of previously unheard music.
Commodo comes from the same slightly more cotemporary scene as Kahn & Neek, lighting up dance floors with genuinely intriguing productions that blend classic Dubstep with left field Hip-Hop, Jazz and lots more. A Deep Medi staple as well as on Kahn & Neek's Bandalu imprint, the man is hugely respected, and not just in the 140 scene. It is truly rare to hear such levels of musicianship in a lot of dance music these days, especially in the bass driven sphere. Commodo sticks out like a sore thumb here, evoking the same kind of feeling as producers such as Calibre or Four Tet. Just listen to his take on LAS's "Pocosink", or the recent and highly anticipated Deep Medi release "Rikers". The wonderfully experimental melodies intertwine perfectly with a glitch-like rhythm, proving that the rush of energy from a Dubstep drop doesn't have to be just about the bass.
Completing the line-up is iconic host and MC Sgt. Pokes, a man who, like Coki, has been part of the Dubstep movement since its very inception. He occupies a cult status in the scene due to distinctive vocals and an unmatched passion for the music blaring out of the sound-system – across the UK and the world. Freerange residents Illidge and Spiers come through on support, with multiple shows nationwide under their belt you can be sure they will do the job.
It's not often a show like this hits the Brighton coast, for any dubsteps in and around the city this one is a complete no brainer. Three of the best artists around in the genre today paired with an absolutely iconic host, all for £10? Lovely job.
Written by Marko Marincic
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