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Live Review: The Upbeats Ft MC Woody, Silent Shadow, Kurrupt - Ellement Lounge

30 June 2014 | 1:38 pm | Paul Mulkearns

"The Upbeats throw in some dancehall vocals and old-school breaks before returning to the tear-out drum’n’bass."

Local DJ, Kurrupt brings the noise with heavy, throbbing drum and bass to get the crowd moving. He drops into half step every now and then, but isn't having more than a bar of it. Some breakdowns have a real old-school feel, R&B vocals and choppy breaks, but he always brings it back to the harder end of the drum'n'bass spectrum. His mixing is impeccable, layering tunes without overcrowding the frequencies. Teebee's remix of The World by Emalkay featuring Lena Cullen gets a rewind much to the crowd's delight, cheering once it drops a second time.

Silent Shadow, a drummer and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, take things down a notch with a swing into some dub-reggae vibes, giving the crowd a much-needed break. However, they only have a brief interlude here before doubling up the pace, while still keeping the dub-wise vibe. They throw in some funk-influenced guitars and bass along the way, and any moment he has spare the guitarist gets the crowd clapping. Sonically they are spot on; every element needs to be there, leaving nothing out. They drop down again into down-tempo several times, presumably to give the drummer a bit of a break, as keeping a solid 170bpm for an hour is no easy feat. This is probably why it is rare to see a live drum'n'bass act these days; this reviewer is glad they came out of a four-year hiatus to play this gig.

MC Woody gets on the microphone to lead Shadow off and bring on one half of The Upbeats, the other member of the producer/DJ duo touring Europe at the moment. He opens with a banger that clears any sign of chill from the room. Not only is it harder than Silent Shadow but also far harder than anything Kurrupt was playing. Rituals, along with a couple of other tunes off their new EP, get a playing. Woody keeps the crowd on their toes, and every now and then lighters or phones hit the air. The Upbeats throw in some dancehall vocals and old-school breaks before returning to the tear-out drum'n'bass. Anytime he goes into half step it lacks the emptiness that is generally associated with it, and it just feels like it's chugging along at the same pace and heaviness as the rest of his set. Really it's obvious to see why they call themselves The Upbeats, when the bass and other instruments amplify even the downbeat rhythm of the drums.