Mass Dosage's top gigs of 2008


24 Dic 2008, 12:42

2008 is the first full year that I have spent in London and one of the things I like most about this city is the sheer number of quality musical events that take place on an almost daily basis. "Spoiled for choice" is the truth. I managed to squeeze in just over 50 gigs this year, covering a range of genres and venues. Below I've listed the ones that really stood out and these are the musicians that I think are worth putting on your "would like to see live" lists. All venues are in London, unless otherwise stated.

DJ Krush @ Koko (Saturday 19 January)
Japan's DJ master put down a sublimely crafted set of downtempo, lesser known instrumental Hip-Hop that left me wondering "where does he get this stuff from?" Seriously beautiful beats, perfectly blended. Domo arigato sensei. DJ Vadim did a decent opening set, Memory9 was interesting, and The Herbaliser dropped a great closing set.

Björk @ Apollo Hammersmith (Monday 14 April)
I saw the Icelandic songstress at the start of this tour performing at an outside venue in Amsterdam so this indoor, seated (for me anyway) gig was quite different as I felt much more of an observer. Fortunately there was a lot to observe - she really put on a great, stylish show (both visually and vocally). The cherries on top were the appearances by Toumani Diabaté and Antony Hegarty. Lovely.

Portishead @ Brixton Academy (Thursday 17 April)
I never got to see these guys perform live during their earlier heyday in the 90s so for me this concert was long overdue. I don't think I was alone in thinking this, given the 10 year furlough the band had taken. They picked up right where they left off, performing a mix of old and new tracks with their no-nonsense, no gimmicks approach. Worth the wait.

Wax Tailor @ Cargo (Tuesday 22 April)
This was the first performance by this French producer in London and it was a great start. MCs? Check. Vocalists? Check. Dope visuals? Check. Phat beats? Check.

Sónar 08 Festival, Barcelona, Spain (June 19-22)
Why would anyone want to attend a festival in muddy, rainy, grimy conditions when you could be in a beautiful, sunny, cultured city with a beach? This was my first time at Sonar and I can unreservedly say it's one of the best festivals I've ever been to. A typical day would involve waking up at around 3 or 4 pm at an apartment in the Gothic Quarter followed by a brunch at an outdoor cafe and a few hours of performances at Sonar by Day in the middle of the city. Up next would be dinner at one of Barcelona's many great restaurants and then Sonar by night until sunrise the following day. The absolute highlight was Flying Lotus who dropped a blistering array of beats. Mala followed this up with a bass-heavy dubstep showcase. Tagging on an extra day to regroup and digest all the input on the beach was a fantastic way to end off.

Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatqé, Alèmayèhu Eshèté, Gétatchèw Mèkurya @ The Barbican (Friday 27 June)
I first stumbled across the Ethiopian Jazz phenomenon a few years ago via a
friend with great taste in music. This gig really felt like a piece of history as it was the first time the artists ever assembled together on one stage and their first appearance outside of Ethiopia. That this didn't happen decades ago is a complete shame, but better late than never.

Max Richter @ Union Chapel (Sunday 29 June)
I can't think of a better venue in London for a performance by this "modern classical with a dollop of electronica" artist. The church setting was suitably reverent and Max and the live performers did not disappoint.

Erykah Badu @ Brixton Academy (Monday 30 June)
It took a while for Erykah to connect with the audience but by the end she was carried out into the crowd who held her aloft while she sang directly to them. Nice touches were the weird instruments she played, stunning outfits, and the fact that she could share her opinions (political and otherwise) without sounding preachy.

Pitch Black @ Cargo (Thursday 24 July)
The production quality and energy of these guys took me completely by surprise. Mixing up dub and goa trance and various other forms of electronic music they got the sweat levels in the audience cranked up a few notches.

Freshlyground, Tumi & The Volume @ The Barbican (Monday 27 October)
A well-chosen South African double bill was opened up by Tumi & The Volume who did a solid opening set. Freshlyground got everyone on their feet and really put on a professional, top-notch show where the experience and skill level of the entire band shone through.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force @ The Royal Festival Hall (Friday 14 November)
Despite the best efforts of The Royal Festival's Hall's staff, we still had a great time once the ice had been firmly broken and people got up and started shaking their asses instead of sitting on them. Femi, please come again, but next time, do a less uptight venue (my suggestion would be the Brixton Academy).

LA Meets the UK Uptown @ The Rhythm Factory (Friday 21 November)
A night of heavy electronic beats where the highlight was definitely LA's Gaslamp Killer who put together a vibrant set that covered dubstep, Hip-Hop classics, electro and more. Some old skool jungle slotted in nicely until edIT and The Glitch Mob rounded things off with their rowdy "glitch-hop" tunes.

So, that was 2008 for me... 2009 here we come...


Mass Dosage


  • roserpens

    I need to get out more.. :)

    24 Dic 2008, 13:45
  • mustafamaluka

    And here I was thinking I had a good year :D

    24 Dic 2008, 13:58
  • grazziee

    Didn't go to half of these, but I'm totally with you on Portishead. That was a hell of a gig.

    24 Dic 2008, 15:17
  • thunderpants

    Nice A! Wish i'd gone to the Krush gig :-/

    29 Dic 2008, 11:25
  • rushay

    nice one mass i would love to see bjork

    4 Ene 2009, 0:48
  • princembekwa

    well, well ... awesome !

    6 Ene 2009, 14:49
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