With the return of the community led St Paul’s carnival (getting national coverage in the Guardian), Bristol has always had claim to be the capital of the Jamaican diaspora sound. Reggae and dub can be heard on the streets of St Paul’s and Stokes Croft, on the airwaves of Ujima and at venues like Cosies and community-centred nights at Kuumba Centre and the Malcolm X centre. While smoking bans and rapid gentrification have murdered the nightlife of London, Bristol has it’s own problems that are impacting the reggae and dub communities. The recent sale of the Rastafari Cultural centre poses a threat to the beating heart of this vibrant scene in Bristol.
While it's still possible to see reggae legends like Lee Perry and Horace Andy at Bristol's large venues (ie Colston Hall and the o2 Academy), live reggae in Bristol is fewer and farther between. Dub and 'soundsystem culture' on the other hand, are literally huge. For the big dub and roots soundclashes, keep an eye on whats on at the Trinity Centre in Bristol, most notably Unity in Dub who's guest soundsystems have included Irration Steppas and the mighty King Earthquake.
On a much smaller scale look at Cosies listings for their weekly roots and reggae night and check whats on at the Attic (attached to the Full Moon on Stokes Croft). Pure ragga, bashment or dancehall events in Bristol are pretty rare, instead a reggae room is a pretty common fixture at big nights at venues like Lakota.
The rapid growth of dubstep in Bristol has brought with it a rekindled interest in modern dub (aka digi-dub aka future dub) and has led to some unlikely dub bookings like Mad Professor at Shit the Bed in the Motion listings.
Our recent reggae & dub recommendations
Apocalyptic noise-rap rioteers straight outta the Death Grips >>> Kinlaw & Franco Franco continuum….Yao Bobby’s frantic life-depends-on-it bilingual spitting is the perfect match for Simon Grab’s imploding industrial noise.
Yao Bobby & Simon Grab, Dhangsha [LIVE] Wolfschwet at Strange Brew.
Casting ghosts of FKA Twigs and Grimes past, BABii’s sensual club-pop will meld perfectly with another chance to see local punk/dancehall/hip-hop RISING legend Grove for a dance and a cry.
BABii // Grove at Crofters Rights.