Gentleman’s Dub Club: The Duchess, 6/12/12
Since having the rather dubious honour of receiving the royal seal of approval from Prince Harry earlier this year, it’s been a busy few months for Gentleman’s Dub Club. Having put the finishing touches on their first full length album, due for release in early 2013, the band set out on their first UK tour since May last year, playing twenty five gigs in just over a month. Considering The Duchess was near the end of this short, but quite intense tour, it would have been understandable if this showed in their performance. This notion was dispelled however the moment the band took to the stage, as front man Jonathan Scratchley bounded on stage and hollered “I want you to see you raise your knees tonight York”. The rest of the nine piece band duly launched into their opening tune with the relish of a group who were playing a stadium, not a half full venue like The Duchess.
Prior to this, the evening began with the familiar grooves of the Irie Vibes DJs, who were accompanied by a number of brass musicians and a melodica player making improvised additions to the tracks. This gave their set a distinctively more expressive and meditative feel, which lent itself well to the relaxed atmosphere of the slowly filling venue. By the time Gentleman’s Dub Club took to the stage, all clad in suits, shirts and ties, a respectably large crowd had congregated in front of the stage. Certainly, this was no sell out gig, but the enthusiastic and eccentric dancing styles of some of those in the crowd meant that this was perhaps a good thing for all those who didn’t want an elbow in the eye.
What was most noticeable about their set though was that it included relatively little from their first two EPs ‘Open Your Eyes’ and ‘Members Only’. Of course, the classics ”Fire” and “High Grade” were not omitted, but for the most part it seemed that the crowd didn’t really recognise the material. While there is nothing wrong with this in essence as it brings something new to the audience, ultimately people go to see bands to hear them play the music they know. Regardless of this, the set was seamlessly tight and the ska influenced dub vibes seemed to have seduced the audience, who went home evidently pleased.