David Rodigan; WHQ Newcastle, 15/11/13

David Rodigan; WHQ Newcastle, 15/11/13

After seeing him at the notorious paint-fight celebrations at Secret Garden Party and reduce the entire crowd at Bestival’s Bollywood stage to butter, I had high expectations for David Rodigan at WHQ. Rodigan is by far one of the most engaging and exciting DJs around and boasts a legendary combination of Ska, Reggae, Bass and Jungle – not to mention the fact that he’s still grooving strong at the ripe old age of sixty-two. Being only an hour away at World Headquarters in Newcastle, it seemed idiotic to miss out.

The club was lively, with both floors jamming to the chilled vibes that the support DJs were producing. One resident in particular, Tom Caulker, was pulling off an excellent set using an extra vinyl deck alongside his normal two-deck controller; laying down some hypnotic, old-school, hip-hop beats.

Eventually the famous ‘puull uup’ sample rings out as David Rodigan is rushed by security through the crowd and onto his decks. The audience surge forward in anticipation and at one point he even pauses the music and asks everyone to take two steps back. Obviously this was in the form of a vocal sample – a true gentleman and a rude boy.

To be honest, the main room wasn’t quite big enough to house the crowd and this unfortunately took away some of the buzz from the night and the potential intimacy it could have offered. WHQ has a great feel as a venue, and is one of the only independent clubs in Newcastle which hosts A-list acts; although in this case it didn’t seem prepared to accommodate the huge number of people. Regardless, he smashed the set with confidence and ease, producing a superb mix of classic and cutting-edge reggae. A particularly blissful moment was Ernest Wilson’s ‘Truths and Rights’ before Rodigan continued to magically weave reggae tracks with the heavy-bass styles of Major Lazor and Breakage, showcasing his unique and innovative style.

In true Rodigan fashion there were frequent sample drops of ‘gimme sum signal’ and ‘ganja’ which got the crowd thoroughly involved as he hopped and dropped the bass with hyperactive energy. By the end, cans of Red Stripe were everywhere to be seen. D-Rod himself appeared to enjoy the confined space compared to the more expansive festival stages that he is perhaps overly-familiar with after a busy summer. Although it cannot be compared to those festival performances, David still embraced the venue and created a warm and vibrant atmosphere with a refreshing blend of sounds that you won’t hear elsewhere.

Jack Turner