Two war heroes sup champagne in the first class carriage in the subterranean Tube Bar. White man traces tracks from Hammersmith to Bristol on the Dubnreggae line.
Travel back two generations. Destination: London. It’s all change at The Roxy club. Rough punks are meeting chilled rastas via Don Letts. Those angry white boys finish smashing things up, simmer down and get political. Letts is around to take the Branson fuelled jet to Jamaica, advising Joe Strummer and John Lydon on vibes.
Forward two generations. Destination: Bristol. This time it’s all change for The Dug Out. The Wild Bunch (Daddy G, 3-D, Mushroom, Tricky Kid) play the same mix for rough bedgers and chilled students, throwing in hip hop tracks and mutating it to ‘trip hop.’
The rails that link these two stations are made of ‘steel’. They also signal the need for change; for something new, cross-cultural and creative growing from the roots of the past. From these two stations, tracks went out in all directions and the reverberations of their clattering carriages can still be found in these two cities and most of our modern culture. Arrive at 2006, The Clash riffs are lifted to bolster boy band pap on the radio (yes you Razorlight and Hard-Fi) but where are the real roots? Fortunately, they’re still on the underground. Tonight, multi-coloured history shimmers round the Massive Attack owned Tube Bar. Don Letts has made the journey down to headline with Daddy G in support. As we arrive, Massive’s touring DJ, Queen Bee is on the platform. We get our drink and Daddy G is at the bar getting a rum and ginger before laying into the champagne – well it is his club and there’s a feeling of celebration in the air.
For most of the night, Don Letts is the driver – he starts at ska, moves into reggae, deepens it with a dose of dub before lifting it out the other side. We keep moving towards the dancefloor to check out the vibe before settling back into our reserved seats. Tracks that pull us into the buffet cart are a new beasty dancy version of ‘No, No, No’ and a skank to the Massive Attack covered ‘Man Next Door’ by John Holt. Mr Benn is the breakfast roll; appetising to all tastes. He rounds things off nicely with some hip hop based reggaeton and a very neat re-rub of Coldcut’s ‘True Skool.’ The boy has bags of talent with his new release on Leisure Recordings and his Mr Blennd bootlegs getting outings. As we depart, station master Daddy G is leaning on the bar and chatting away to flappy armed students and impassioned young b-boys. This line is circular.