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Music Consumption: Dub Narcotic Sound System
11/05/1998 Dub Narcotic Sound System: Out of Your Mind

Saw Dub Narcotic Sound System last night, touring in support of Out of Your Mind--fantastic. A great dance party band. Years ago I saw Beat Happening in a small gallery, and it was intense--no distance between the band and the audience, great energetic playing and singing, and Calvin staring the audience in the eye, thumping his chest with the microphone, and rolling around on the floor. It was actually, at times, pretty frightening (particularly during the song that would later be recorded as "You Turn Me On.")

Dub Narcotic is aggressive, too, in this case about making you dance. Not in a hectoring way, but by aggressively creating music that makes dancing inevitable. This is particularly true with energetic new drummer Heather Dunn (her live contribution adds a dimension of excitement I now wish I was hearing on the disc) and excellent bassist Chris Sutton, keeper of a mighty groove. The guitarist/keyboardist Brian Weber adds a barbecue flavor to the mix, and Calvin shakes, wails, jumps, and moans his way into your brain like a low, funky foghorn. They're like a Stax/Volt house band with a punk spirit, and if they can't make you move, you're dead.

The beauty of the show was its democracy--fans were down on the stage (the show was in a university auditorium, a much better place to see bands than bars are), dancing with the band, and the vibe was total punk-rock-do-what-you-want. You don't need lots of equipment to shake a room, just lots of enthusiasm. All the rockier numbers off of Out of Your Mind were highlights, although "Belly Warmer" stands out for me, maybe because they happened to do it after I requested it, but more likely because it's a great groove tune, and God knows the world needs more of those.

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