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Clash of the Rhythms: Bedouin Soundclash and Dub is a Weapon at Higher Ground | July 2011

Photography by Olivia Vande Griek

Dub Is A Weapon

Despite the fact that Burlington is hosting the annual Discover Jazz Festival, Higher Ground has a number of people filing in to see the soundclashing sincerity of Bedouin Soundclash, the Toronto-based trio that just released Light the Horizon. Playing first that night is Dub is a Weapon, the roots dub masters of Brooklyn, choosing songs from the recently released Vaporized. Dub is a Weapon rarely plays Higher Ground, and Bedouin Soundclash is back for the first time in a year, so it’s a fresh experience to begin with.

Dub is a Weapon are very busy at the moment, one hundred percent focused on standing outside that is, enjoying the moderate temperature and setting sun. “Guys,” says bandleader Dave Hahn, opening the door, “We’re on in 10 minutes.” The band snaps to reality, scurrying to get inside, where a huge tapestry of the Light the Horizon album cover hangs behind the stage. Dub is a Weapon seem loose tonight, stepping up to their instruments and immediately creating an energy in the room. The sound is great. Saxophonist Maria Eisner can be heard nicely alongside Dave’s guitar and the bass is soupy. Because it’s early, people are still getting drinks and chatting; it takes a moment for the audience to clump together and listen. In the middle of “Curva Peligrosa” Dave’s guitar loses sound, but righted, he picks up where he left off, smiling, and it’s the only moment of confusion in the entirety of the tight set.

Dub Is A Weapon

The highlight is “Seven Doors”, with reawakened energy, and the moment when the audience really begins to feel it, though they still hang back. As a guest, Rob Simeon takes the mic to sing three tunes, and after the first he says, “Step forward, we want you up here,” and the audience obliges, now that it’s an invitation. At the end of the third song, while the band is still grooving, Rob holds up his hand. “I don’t want to go, but the show must go on,” he says, leaving.

Rob is right in calling it a show. For those unfamiliar with Bedouin Soundclash, you might hear their name and think they are world- beat miasma of strange noises, but they are really three guys happy to be there.

Drummer Sekou Lemumba, for his first time in Burlington, sits behind the drum kit. He’s a big guy and a gifted percussionist. Eon Sinclair’s bass has “Ready” written on it in gaffer tape. Jay Malinowski is an interesting man. While his band mates’ clothes are baggy and loose, Jay’s fashion is a bit more chic. He’s got on a killer jean jacket, collar popped, a fedora, and beneath it jet black, gelled hair. He wears his guitar low and during the first song gets so into it that he knocks the mic loose of the stand, and a crew member catches it, holding it up for Jay to keep singing, which he can’t do without one of his infectious chuckles.


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