Photos by Teddy Williams
Getting to see Sub Focus at Terminal West was as real treat, and a show that I’d been looking forward to since it was announced. I had been preparing for his set by watching several of his other performances at Rampage and other events, but he still managed to surprise me with his performance which ranged in tracks from classic drum & bass and jungle to some surprisingly more future house sounds and even a drum & bass live edit of “One Dance” by Drake (which the crowd loved).
The Atlanta drum & bass community is small, so at an event like this, it’s possible to see a lot of familiar faces. I saw Hunter of Legion and Logam in the crowd, and ran across High Kaliber, a former coworker, and a few other notable faces in the Atlanta music scene all mingled among the crowd. Legion and Logam opened for Sub Focus, and played a very bassy set, which I also enjoyed as a warm-up. There was no stage gathering of VIPs and their +1s, this was just a down and dirty night of bassheads and junglists gathered together to dance as one. I saw people break-dancing and spinning around on the floor, and plenty of people who I am certain didn’t know each other dancing in pairs or little groups. Everyone seemed very comfortable, and I found myself just casually talking to a few strangers throughout the night.
Hype men seem to be a staple of most drum & bass shows, and Sub Focus brought his own along with him for this show. I find that they often add very little, and in most cases seem to only be there to distract from the boredom that can set in after an hour and a half of the same tempo. The deep house community seems to have cocaine as a replacement for this boredom, but I wish DJs could find other more engaging ways of keeping their audience involved in the show than just hiring someone to yell at the front row all night. This guy was pretty good at moderating his mic time, but I still didn’t feel like it added much to the show, and I would have enjoyed just being able to listen to the music.
One thing that was genuinely encouraging to see was the number of young people present. Rather than just being a gathering of old heads, most of the front row, and a decent portion of the crowd looked quite young, which means that even if drum & bass isn't at the forefront of the EDM scene, it still has a strong following. drum & bass is the birthplace of dubstep, so it deserves that recognition from any serious followers of electronic music, but my expectations are often low for people’s interest in anything more than 15 minutes old. That was really encouraging to see and I hope it means we’ll continue to see innovation within the genre by new producers on the horizon.