Sub-Sonic Live - Greg Wilson and Bam
The fourth Sub-Sonic Live saw two of musics most undoubtedly inspiring artists, Afrika Bambaataa and Greg Wilson take to the stage in what can only be described as one of the most perfect pairings in recent history.
Afrika Bambaataa is hailed as the Godfather of Hip Hop, and for good reason, releasing his seminal 12" single "Planet Rock", which would go on to shape Hip Hop altogether, inspiring thousands of artists and spurring virtually every sub genre under the Hip Hop ilk. His collective, "Zulu Nation" is still as strong as ever, promoting universal peace and love and galvanise the world with their incontrovertibly funky musings. Featuring on the same bill, is a man who independently brought Electro-Funk onto British dance floors in the early 80's, going against jazz funk, pioneering a movement that still resonates to this day. That man is Greg Wilson, who affirms Bam as a huge inspiration in his career, which makes you wonder why on earth they haven't been featured on the same bill before. As they say though, better late than never, as this gig was well and truly worth the wait. Even if it has been 30 years!
Filling the stage with his unmistakable presence, Bam stood behind the decks with unbridged jurisdiction, followed shortly by King Kamonzi, the lyrical master for the evening, both ready to turn the void into party central. And party they did. This was un unprecedented lesson in all things jazz and Hip Hop related, and what better way to kick off proceedings than with James Brown, instantly transforming motionless souls into body popping out and out jive masters. What really added to the whole "Zulu Nation" experience was the preaching of "peace, love and unity" as Kamonzi so aptly put it. This was about bringing not just people, but the world together through the "international language of planet earth" which of course, in Zulu Nation terms means music. This was not only humbling, but a warming affirmation of your being, bringing each reveller together as one, which is surely what music is intended to do. Bam was in absolute tip top form. Every mix synced perfectly, so well, that it was impossible to decipher where on track ended and the other started. Just one millisecond out of time can make the difference between a night of smooth unadulterated vibes, or a stuttering, un-dancebale set. With a mix like his, its pretty hard to see why you would want to dance to anything else. Running through a catalogue of rousing artists, from Michael Jackson to N.W.A had arms flailing in ecstasy, and King Kamonzi, or for this night "The King" was an impenetrable force, with pin point lyrics, wry observations, and messages of global unification. If they could play every night, well, the world would indeed be a better place.
So, who could follow such a vibrant act? There is of course only one man who could, and that was indeed Greg Wilson. Now, for those of you who don't know, Greg was resident DJ at the infamous Wigan Pier , Hacienda and Legends, the latter being described by Greg as "Manchester's other club", all in the early 80's, filling the dance floors with enlightened spirits, seeking a fresh revolution. And a revolution it was, transpiring the Electro - Funk genre to the nation, even spreading it down to the sceptical south, still hung up on soul. This night saw the London premier of his "Reels Of Steel" set, a unique show where imagery is displayed on lcd screens, in time to the music, albeit juxtaposing the music itself. The intentions of this is to be entirely thought provoking, highlighting the music once again, after a time where "Music played second fiddle to the drugs" as Greg so eloquently put it. Seeing this in motion is, in truth, a thought provoking experience, drawing the audience deeper into the Funk reverberations, and underlining peoples affinity to the music. The set was relentless, a tour de force of Electro - Funk from old to new, maintaining a feel good atmosphere until early doors. The set was an utter success, and has further cemented Greg's status as one of Britain's most innovative DJ's. This was only the beginning of what will surely be a smash hit success, as he plans to further develop and evolve this concept into something beyond what even he can imagine. Watch this space for exclusive gig footage and interviews with Bam And Greg.