Bill mixes it up
I've always been intimidated by Bill Laswell spots on the Fuji Rock schedule. Twice before he's come, and though the bills sounded attractive, they also sounded difficult, so I passed.
But at the Orange Court on Sunday night, the muddiest stage around, Laswell turned out to know how to mix the dub with the far reaches of his jazz-inflected experimentation. He started strong with the dub act Methods of Defiance (don't care what they defy, I love the name) belting out some boilerplate bass-heavy get-up-and-change-the-world scorchers.
After hooking his audience, Laswell then went to the horn and loop machine to play around a bit. Throughout the show he'd switch back and forth between the two so the crowd wouldn't get too lost in freakouts or mesmerized by the dub.
Smash does a good job of bringing in some classic dub, ska and reggae -- past acts include a recombined Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Skatalites to name the biggies -- and Lee Scratch Perry and Laswell were fine additions.
Reported by Donald Eubank (2008.07.28 / 00:43)