After a 2-year struggle, London’s biggest and arguably most influential pirate radio station, Rinse FM, was recently awarded with a full FM license. The station has progressed greatly since its emergence in 1994, pioneering the underground sounds of UK Garage, grime, dubstep and funky whilst seeing the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Skream and Plastician skyrocket from relative obscurity to international fame. Headed by house and funky master DJ Geeneus, Rinse began broadcasting over the Internet in 2006 and has since acquired a considerable international following, providing a platform for some of the most skilled DJs and MCs to showcase their talent. To celebrate its achievement, on the 21st July Rinse FM hosted an invite-only party at one of London’s most famous nightclubs, Fabric.
To help commemorate Rinse’s successes, a star-studded DJ line up was chosen for the event. Headlining the evening would be Magnetic Man – a live act consisting of dubstep pioneers Skream, Benga and Artwork, their inclusion a tribute to their undeniable talent and impending success. Supporting the trio would be bass innovator DJ Oneman, (renowned for his genre defying track selection and ever-constant boundary pushing), award-winning dubstep selector DJ N-Type, jungle legend and house specialist Zinc, as well as Rinse FM DJs Alex Nut and Supa D. Not only was the line up star-studded, the crowd was too. In every direction was a familiar face, wherever you turned a DJ, producer or MC populated the usually raver-filled super club.
No CDJs or Vinyl turntables this time though, instead, Magnetic Man take centre stage. Seated in a colossal, industrial-style booth, (which looks more suited to a building site than a nightclub) each member of the dubstep super-group perches behind their own Apple Mac computer. The triangular cage stands high, protruding onto the dance floor, Benga on the left and Skream on the right, Artwork sits between them, the godfather of the two dubstep superstars. They open with ‘Mad,’ a screechy dubstep number, with shrieking, high-pitched synth leads supported by a formidable layer of sub-bass. The weighty track roars through Fabric’s monstrous sound system, the bass rattling not only the dance floor but also the ribcages of those who watch on. Meanwhile, lightning white LEDs surge across the cage, forming complex sequences and constellations, creating the illusion of an enormous high-definition screen. From the offset it is clear that Magnetic Man don’t supply simply a musical performance, but a visual affair too. Intense dance music and floor-shaking bass are intertwined with electrifying visuals to create a full-body experience. You can hear, see and feel the music. Magnetic Man move from one dubstep clanger to another, with menacing tracks such as ‘K-Dance’ and ‘Certified Banger’ continuing to reverberate the dance floor. The trio’s debut single, ‘I Need Air’ – which perhaps owes as much to trance as to dubstep – provokes the biggest crowd reaction. Currently sitting comfortably in the top 10, the tune switches the mood, the uplifting synth lines and breezy vocals offering the crowd a much-needed change of pace. The set continues, with no doubt future hits, ‘Karma Crazy’ and ‘Perfect Stranger’ particularly pleasing spectators. Purists would argue that this performance isn’t ‘real’ dubstep, that it’s a world away from FWD>> and other basement raves of yesteryear. It’s difficult to question Magnetic Man’s authenticity though. It’s clear that they are they are doing what they love, and they are doing it with sophistication and style. The whole package is impressive, and on a course for serious potential commercial success.
The performances continue, with N-Type treating the crowd to an old school UK garage set and DJ Zinc offering his usual selection of the aptly named ‘crack house’. Neither however, can match the captivating performance of headliners, Magnetic Man. As the night draws to a close and the club empties, it’s obvious that both the dubstep super group and Rinse FM have even brighter futures still to unfold.