Live Review – Crucial Roots at Stereo

Remember gigs? Before Covid-19, qmunicate sent me to the opening event of Rise & Shine at Stereo, as someone interested, but by no means knowledgeable about Dub I did what I urge you to do and took a punt. Nem, Lewis, and Murray Man were all exceptional, but by far the star of the night was the sound system itself – Crucial Roots. For the uninitiated, imagine a gigantic set of speakers but handmade and with hundreds of collective hours of care and painstaking graft put into it. Everyone involved from stage design, to constructing the sound system, to the artists performing on the night were deeply invested in both the sound system and the club night itself. Rise & Shine is easily one of the best club nights I’ve been to this year and if it wasn’t for the current global pandemic, one which I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.

Part of why I’d recommend Rise and Shine to anyone is both its difference compared with a standard UK club night, there’s far more emphasis on a collective experience as opposed to the individuality of many of our nights out. To me, this clearly came from the focus on Crucial Roots sound system itself, having a communal set-up gave the whole night a big event feel that’d be the perfect start to a post-Corona blowout. It’s not often you come to a gig and have people looking in awe at what some would call some speakers but seeing Crucial Roots at Rise & Shine just caused a switch to flip. For everyone involved with Crucial Roots, its construction was a labour of love stemming from a style of music with seeped in a vibrant and inclusive community. one which came through on every detail up to the debates on the how warm the colour should be on the LED décor at the sound system’s top. One of the highlights of my night was just the feeling of dancing in front of Crucial Roots and feeling the incredible bass the speakers were capable of producing.

Crucial to any gig is ultimately the artists, and Decades of Dub had placed Rise & Shine in the capable hands of Murray Man, who was phenomenal in interacting with the crowd during his set and equally as down for a chat pre-show over a veggie baguette where like everyone else at Rise & Shine his passion for Dub came through. Nem & Lewis were excellent and knowledgeable DJs too, expertly spinning tracks on the traditional vinyl turntables, as well as well deserving a shout out for being incredibly welcoming in the run up to the event.

Dub music might not be for everyone, but with a community like the one surrounding Crucial Roots let alone the passion project of the sound system itself and the massive post-corona party we’re all looking forward too, there’ll never be a better time to try it. Big up Crucial Roots.

[Sam Foley – he/him – @wholesamness]

[Photo credit: Crucial Roots/]

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