Dub Nation ft. Mord Fustang, Rednek and The Bolivian Marching Affair
by Michael Hogan
Baltimore doesn’t exactly have the best reputation as far as major cities go, I think its safe to assume it isn’t on anybody’s list of vacation destinations. Yeah, we’ve got the aquarium and inner harbor, but those little diamonds in the rough tend to be largely over-shadowed by the fact that Baltimore rests near the top of statistical lists for murder rates, and most STDs. And I will admit, that could certainly be considered a drawback, there is an undeniable charm to this city that just can’t be explained until its experienced firsthand, but even still there are those who get it, and those who don’t; I can appreciate how its hard to understand the charm of a city that’s held in the same esteem as the likes of Buffalo and Detroit. But if one thing can be said about Baltimore, its that it will never be dull, and naturally, Saturday night at Soundstage was no different. Of course, on its own, the line up for the night was quite impressive; Mord Fustang with Rednek, and The Bolivian Marching Affair was reason enough to choose Soundstage over the three other shows happening in the area that night. But in true Baltimore fashion, that wasn’t quite dramatic enough. At some point during The Bolivian Marching Affair’s set – while I happened to be outside smoking a cigarette, incidentally – a random unruly patron outside the venue decided that it would be a good idea to tackle a police officer, I believe alcohol had more of a decision in the matter than he did, but either way, it could have been quite the disaster. Thankfully, everything was handled extremely well; from the excellent response from the security staff at Soundstage, to the somewhat shocking compliance from the crowd at the show. This could have been the end of show, and the start of quite a bit of trouble for Steez Promo and Soundstage, but then again, this is Baltimore, trouble isn’t anything new; just don’t interrupt our music.
The music was after all, the reason everyone was there, and we weren’t going to let one guy spoil it for everyone. Especially with such an interesting line-up; everyone was certainly looking forward to Mord Fustang’s heavy electro sound, but personally, I couldn’t wait for everyone to hear TBMA; Maryland will always be my home, but Boston can breed loyalty at an exceptional rate, and after three years living there, I can’t help but be proud of any musical exports Boston has to offer, and I couldn’t wait to show them off. And naturally TBMA performed to their usual standards, and left what I’m sure will be a last impression on a crowd mostly consisting of new listeners. Though their sound differs greatly from what most would expect from a show with Mord Fustang as the headliner, there wasn’t a single person displeased with their performance. I did, however, get asked if all the dubstep guys from Boston looked like old metal and hardcore kids that got lost at a rave, since apparently TBMA and I both seem to have illustrated some sort of trend, but either way, I’d say that description isn’t too far from the mark, and I’d count that as another thing Boston can be proud of. Regardless of the shenanigans happening outside with the police and a rather inebriated individual, TBMA never lost the crowd’s attention for a second, and given all the chaos happening during their set, I’d say that’s rather remarkable. TBMA wrapped up their set by introducing Rednek, and if I’m honest, I was relatively indifferent about his set coming in to this show, I knew Rednek was good, and I would definitely consider myself a fan, but when compared to a little nostalgia from my time in Boston, and Mord’s headliner set, Rednek’s set definitely didn’t get me quite as excited as the other two. Though perhaps I should have gotten a little more excited, because he really did put on an amazing show, and with a little help from TBMA’s MC/DJ Joey Fisher, he had no problem getting the crowd worked up, and put on a show that very easily rivaled TBMA and Mord Fustang. Of course, any indifference I felt was purely personal, and based entirely off a largely irrelevant geographical pre-disposition to TBMA, and had nothing to do with Rednek as a musician, so it really isn’t any surprise that he was good, but the fact that he stood out in my mind – as someone who was expecting for him to stand out the least – is quite the testament to how good his set really was.
And of course, it really comes as no surprise that Mord Fustang played an amazing set, and put on a fantastic show; from a musician’s point of view, he really is a remarkable DJ, and is really fascinating to watch, and from a performer’s perspective, he really knew exactly how to respond to the crowd, and worked off everyone’s energy, and using that to deliver even more energy. Mord’s dark, heavy, and bassy electro was the perfect way to diversify a dubstep show, while still keeping with the overall theme, and not interrupting the sense of familiarity at all. He had a sound that really towered over Soundstage, as this sort of music should when played well. When Mord started playing, Soundstage immediately felt like it was shrinking; such a big sound really took over all the open space in the venue, from the driving kick, to the booming bass, everything was huge, and the crowd was loving it. In fact, Mord Fustang was perhaps a bit too huge for Soundstage, as the set was brought to a premature close conveniently enough during the closing minutes of the show, due to what appeared to be a rather toasted speaker, not that I can say I was surprised. The show proved to be an amazing and interesting showcase of not only fantastic music, but a few general mishaps that proved rather interesting in their own right. But despite all the extraneous action, the music still remained the talk of the night, and given the other happenings, I’d say Mord Fustang, Rednek, and TBMA topped a rather tough act to follow. But all said, from the music to the spectacle outside, it was all just another great night in Baltimore, and how can you knock that kind of entertainment value?