Dreadzone + Decker Gives Chase

Higher Ground Festival - The Consortium
March 2006

Judging by his habit of turning the microphone on the crowd for shouting competitions, Decker Gives Chase MC, Jonathon Swift, may well have been a children’s entertainer in a past life. Delivered in a slightly odd, fake LA drawl, his freestyle is repetitive at times but spat like bile and full of angst. Playing hip-hop, drum n bass and electronica live with drums, bass, synths and vinyl scratching DGC are, for the most part, unbelievably tight. They filled their hour, but not without padding… like most products of the suburban ghetto, they seem to be scratching around for something to say. Time means nothing to Dreadzone though. It’s quite possible that they exist in the centre of a paradox-defying anomaly. Even the heaving crowd look as if they’ve been randomly sucked from all corners of the last thirty years. Mixing classic roots, 70s dub and 80s rock with 90s ska, big beat and leftfield, Dreadzone have had years of practice at hitting the right buttons and they’re all marked 'party'. It’s bombastic and one-dimensional – bouncy guitars and a bit of reverb do not a reggae track make - yet it’s impossible not to be carried along by these men, throwing themselves into their music like wild eyed teenagers. But despite the knee-pumping, arm-waving, bar staff pogo-ing scene, there is an atmosphere of timeless melancholy. The favourite sounds of a fading generation - and a dread of the inevitable hung over Sunday morning of the soul.