Asian Dub Foundation @ The Junction 26/02/03

Currently touring there new album ‘Enemy of the Enemy’, Asian Dub Foundation mix a wide varity of music from dub right through to ragga. Their live performances certainly do their reputation as one of the hardest working bands, justice.

Tonight as we enter the junction it is unusually quite and empty. The support act (Adrian Sherwood) doesn’t even play on the stage, instead he just mixes his sounds right from the mixing desk. The music is good but the performance is not. Many people don’t even realise he is an act and think that it is just a CD playing over the P.A. The sheet with the times says that ADF will be on stage at about 9 and will play right through to 11. At about 8:30 the room gradually starts to fill and there is a lot people looking confused at the lack of any life on stage.
At about 9 DJ Pandit G walks on stage and triggers a sample, he is then followed by Dr Das and Chandersonic (Bassist and guitarist) who announce that the opening track is Called Cyberabad. After a few minutes of playing to the backing sample, live drummer Rocky and Dhol player Cyber, arrive on stage. The Junction is soon full of dancing people feeling the bass and rhythm. As cyberabad draws to close the final two members of Asian Dub Foundation arrive on stage. Rappers Aktar and Mc Spex introduce themselves and then ask who is the real great Britain, Tony Blair or all the people who marched against the war? The answer to the question is immediately answered as they kick into the track ‘Real Great Britain’. The crowd goes wild, the whole of the front row seem to know the words and this seems to make the band go crazy, jumping everywhere even into each other.
Over the next hour and a half crowd pleasers such as ‘New Way new Life, Buzzin, Naxalite, Free Saptal Ram’ are banged out through the junctions speakers. These are played alongside tracks from their new album, which have a harder more aggressive feel to them. This aggression and frustration is conveyed through the bands performance. During the title track to their new album, members of the band don masks to a sample of eary noise. As the track kicks in mad strobe lights flicker faster than the eye follow. Aktar and Spex go mental, busting out their lyrics while they jump around the stage carefully avoiding Cyber who is banging his Dhol drum so hard one of the sticks break half way through the song.
As ADF leave the stage rapper Aktar comes done of the stage for me to take a photo of him, he gives me a respect and leaves. The stage is empty for about 5 minutes until dhol player Rocky emerges and starts to bang out some Indian tribal rhythms, a few minutes later drummer rocky comes onto the stage. He starts dancing to Cyber’s beat. Chandersonic and Dr Das then appear on stage and pick up their instruments and kick in to ‘Buzzin’. The people around me seem to erupt and I jump backwards hitting someone in the face as I do so, I don’t think he even noticed. As ‘Buzzin’ comes to an end Spex asks the audience if Cambridge is ready to bounce. They don’t wait for an answer a sample of a woman singing is played over the P.A Aktar announces that this is the last song and that its called Rebel Warrior. From the cheer that greets this news you can tell that this is another of the crowds favourites. As the sample builds up to a defining climax the lights fade and Spexs asks, “are you ready Cambridge” everyone screams and the Junction erupts as the band kick into the song the strobes flash mentally as we jump and dance to the genius of ADF. Its over all to soon though and soon the stage is once again, empty. As the crowd begins to shuffle out I wait around and grab a set list off the stage.
Asian Dub Foundation seem to have achieved so much and still it hasn’t seemed to have made them loose sight of why they make music and why they are in a band. Even when I ask them to sign my set list they are all quite taken aback and surprised. As Rapper Aktar finishes signing his name his name he looks up at me and says “Brother, you guys really give it some” I laughed and said to him “I could say the same about you.”