Smog vs. Basshead With 12th Planet, Zeds Dead, and Dieselboy at Mekka Miami, March 22
The volume was at 11. The revelers' energy was at 11. The level of confusion trying to get around the sprawling downtown club Mekka was at 11. (Seriously, the place is like a maze.)
If you needed any indication that the American iteration of dubstep had long ago boiled over into critical mass, this was it.
The crowd was hardly a bunch of chin-scratching underground heads. Instead, these were young, up-for-it kids from across Dade County's suburban sprawl, all there for a loud, fast, good time.
They definitely got it. Unsurprisingly, the flavor of the evening was drop-heavy, low-end stuff of the shamelessly pummeling variety. In the main room at one point, Zeds Dead reached such crushing volumes of wobble that it was enough to get dizzy while still perfectly sober.
Off of the cavernous, hangar-like main room, though, there were a few different flavors of bass to be found. One of the most exciting rooms was sponsored by legendary U.K. drum 'n' bass brand Metalheadz. Even early on, it was throbbing, with DJs playing only a tiny bit of obviously crowd-pleasing dubstep. John B., a longtime chameleonic survivor of the scene, freely flitted between the womp-womp and his signature electro-tinged drum 'n' bass sound, while Dieselboy, who came next, kept it no-nonsense.
As one of the American pioneers of d'n'b, he played a set of what he does best -- the loud, metallic side of the genre. Though Dieselboy's sets in other circumstances cross a wider spectrum, he wisely played to the kids who were looking for unapologetically speedy tech-step, drill'n'bass, and the like.
Complete with the sing-song intonations of an MC, this was almost like a flashback to 12-ish years ago, only with the females in less clothing, but still with the old running-in-place skanky dance. Nevertheless, it was nice to see that the renewed interest in all things bass seems to have spread back to this recently neglected genre.
Nearby, though, current American dubstep king 12th Planet held sway in the official Smog vs. Basshead room, which you had to find by pushing through the crowded Metalheadz room or taking a turn off the main room. Luckily, enough people found it to set things off.
If you know 12th Planet's sound, then there were no surprises here. (And that's okay.) Except when, halfway through his set, he wisely played to the crowd by tossing in Rick Ross's "B.M.F." and even some Waka Flocka.
Meanwhile, Trouble & Bass was holding it down in its own room, which, frankly, was impossible to find. After circling through the sprawling club at least four times, we finally took a random turn at some point and stumbled into T&B's area in a back corner. Clearly, we weren't the only ones having the same problem, because only about 50 people had managed to find their way to hear Toddla T's set there.
Beyond that, the vibe was marred a bit by technical difficulties: When Toddla looked ready to hand off the decks to the Captain, there was a long, awkward moment of silence and feedback.
Still, those who stuck around got a snapshot bass music's future trends, even if those will be better absorbed at smaller parties, like T&B's own affair tonight at Blackbird Ordinary.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.