Photos By: DustyFoot
Article By: Chris Burlingame
Into its fifth and final day, the exhausting marathon that is and was Decibel Festival 2010 was winding down. I chose to end my experience with the dB in the Park showcase with British dubstep legend Plastician and the incredibly influential DJ Mary Anne Hobbs.
Hobbs just recently wrapped up her fourteen year tenure at the BBC’s Radio One, where she was a radio host, including the station’s experimental program. Her send off show a few weeks ago was legendary, taking listeners on a journey through the recent history of electronic music. Clearly, seeing her set on Sunday afternoon at Seattle Center was one of my dB Fest’s “can’t miss” shows.
It exceeded any expectations I could have. She came on stage at 3pm, just as we were starting to see rain for the first time during the five days of the festival. The Broad Street stage had several hundred people there, many up front dancing, others hula-hooping, others sitting on the lawn enjoying the music and their hallucinogens.
Having attended dB Fest earlier in the weekend, Hobbs flew to San Francisco to play at midnight before flying back for her early afternoon set. What she does as well as anyone I’ve seen was to work the crowd and get them excited for what she was playing, it almost felt democratic. As her set was winding down, she jumped into the adoring crowd while looping Joker’s “Tron”. It was a diverse set, including the almost-obligatory use of her friend Joy Orbison’s “HYPH MNGO” but the reggae-influenced “Come Around” by Collie Budz (featuring Busta Rhymes) might have gotten the biggest reaction from the crowd as it was quite the surprise when she dropped it. With a few minutes left, she looked overwhelmed by the attention she got from the audience and thanked everyone while Plastician was setting up. She said she loved Seattle and could move here, which I wasn’t alone in hoping “please.”
Plastician, formally Chris Reed, was at the ground floor when dubstep took off several years ago. Though still quite young, he has quite an impressive track record. Not originally scheduled to go on until a little later in the afternoon, to close the showcase out, it made sense for Plastician to follow his colleague and ideological partner Hobbs, though following her set was an unenviable position, he seemed up for the challenge. He gave the crowd what they wanted, which at that particular moment was dubstep beats with syncopated rhythms and heavy, heavy basslines.
It was quite the way to wrap my Decibel Festival experience. Now I need to find a way to balance when I’ll be ready to hear another beat, with counting down the days to next year’s festival.
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