Review: Dub Der Guten Hoffnung @ Subland

Radikal Guru
We only dropped in to Dub der guten Hoffnung at Subland to take a quick look, which is exactly how crazy nights usually start.  My friend had never been to the venue in the industrial Lichtenberg/Friedrichshain borderland and I decided that he had to check it out.

"Where are you taking me?" he squeaked as we turned off of Gurtelstrasse and down a street that seemed to be made entirely of eroded pavements, ragged brickwork, rusting gates and graffitti.  I laughed evilly.  After a few minutes, he seemed about to make a break for it but just then, and with perfect timing, the venue appeared.  As we walked alongside it, the audible bass coming through the wall started to calm my friend.  I pointed to an iron-barred grill at street level with ghostly blue light glowing through it.

"That's where the party is," I said, and his face started going pale all over again.   

It was all I could do to drag him through the club gate and into the courtyard of Subland. The towering black plattenbau that filled the lot beside the venue blotted out the night sky.  As usual there was a single candlelight burning in one of its windows and, as usual, that only seemed to emphasize the area's desolation.  There were some walls between it and us, at least.  There were also other people between us and those walls, waiting in a small queue.  My friend's expression had changed from anxiety to curiosity.  Soon we were inside.

In the broad cellar where the main dance floor was, a white DJ with a full mane of dreads was headbanging away to fierce reggae inside of a DJ cage.  My friend had a few anxious questions about the cage, but I couldn't quite hear what he was yelling over the music.  He'd apparently never heard reggae played as the main act before, and was soon carried away onto the dancefloor by the pumping beats and energetic melodies envelopped us like a velvet heatwave. Radikal Guru's performance was next: a flurry of pensive, dubby ragga and rhetorical questions like "Are you feeling the heeeeat?" intoned through a variety of trippy filters.

The second, smaller room was dominated by some 'classic' dubstep (i.e. circa 4 years old) that wobbled its way fluidly towards some sort of minimal, melodic climax.  It was a nice change from the conventional 'giant slapping a whale against a wall' sound that, while delightfully weird, tends to be devoid of sentiment.

All too soon we had to leave but as we walked away from the venue, my friend was noticeably more relaxed. I reckon all the dancing helped - he was too tired to feel anxious anymore.  That 'special' cigar that one of the dancers had passed him before we left may have had something to do with it too, though... 


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