Photo by Michael Maryanoff
It's not surprising that Miami, "the city of Bass," would so fondly embrace a form such as dubstep. A heavy mash of UK garage and grime, with roots tracing back to Jamaican dub, the genre is deep and low and perfect for the kinda nights where the action takes place in the shadows and mood throbs with an undercurrent of utter menace.
What's surprising is that it took so long for the Magic City to get with a sound that's in effect a direct descendant of our very own streets. But as anyone who has hit Vagabond for one of the monthly Get Low throwdowns knows, dubstep is coming up, and it's coming up strong.
Kicked into gear 10 months ago by Sweat's J-Sin Jimenez, Butter Gallery graffiti artist AHOLSNIFFSGLUE, and Slim Biscayne (a.k.a. occasional Crossfade contributor Dominic Sirianni of New Art School), Get Low is an offshoot of the trio's Thursday night Vagabond shindig known as (((Shake))).
As Jimenez recalls "It's grown a lot since we started. At first it was just the loyalists. We were playing it at (((Shake))) and more and more people started asking what it was. Now we've got everyone from hipsters to hip hoppers getting into it."
In fact, dubstep's getting so big it'll be paired head-to-head with drum and bass at this year's Ultra Music Festival. Called "Dub and Bass," the stage will feature d'n'b heavies such as LTJ Bukem and dubstep originators like Skream and Benga. "It's blowing up," says Ultra co-founder Alex Omes. "Last year we had a little bit in the afternoon; this year it's gonna be massive."
And if there's something to Skream's remix of La Roux's "In for the Kill," "Snoop Dogg Millionaire" with dubsteppers Chase and Status, and Eve's teaming with Benga for "Me N My Up in the Club," the form's set to blow even larger still.
That's why Get Low is getting so damn big. And though the (((Shake))) boys (and their booking partner, DJ Juan Basshead) have brought in some of the world's finest dubstep DJs, from Baltimore's Joe Nice ("the North American ambassador") to Bristol's Joker (an XLR8R cover star), there are enough local head spinners working the beat to fill any given evening anywhere.
Case in point will be tonight, when Juan Basshead is joined by the Reazin (Proper Dosage), Diz Trutkif (Bandits), El Topo (CTC), Sahar Berlin (Smut + Vass), Gizmatix, and Everygirl, in addition to MCs Jumanji and the Nome. Each and every one of 'em reps Sout Florida, and combined they'll bring you lower than you've ever gone before. Bet on it.
Get Low X. 10 p.m. Thursday, February 18. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Admission is free before 11 p.m. with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Age 21 and up. 305-379-0508; thevagabondmiami.com