Words by LargeUp Crew—
The Dub Champions Festival was founded three years ago to bring pioneering figures in dub together with new-school innovators who continue to push the style forward. There’s no better mascot for the fest than Lee “Scratch” Perry; the dub godfather continues to push the style’s envelope with his trippy, dub-centric live shows 40 years after he and King Tubby laid down the framework on the watershed Blackboard Jungle Dub LP. He performed both at last year’s edition in NYC, and at an international version of the fest earlier this year in his adopted homeland of Switzerland.
This year’s event, taking place Sept. 19-23 across NYC, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., will be capped by a unique performance from Perry on Sept. 22. Sure, all of Scratch’s performances have their own special magic, but this one will mark his first collaboration with Addis Pablo, son of the late melodica great and dub lynchpin Augustus Pablo. Perry will also be joined at NYC’s (Le) Poisson Rouge by Subatomic Sound System, the Woman in Dub singers and Ninja Tune artist Daedelus.
“We are using technology both to perform faithful reproductions of Black Ark roots classics on one hand but also to make very futuristic live electronic music on other tracks,” Subatomic’s Emch says of the live show that Subatomic Sound has developed with Perry. To give you an idea of what this looks and sounds like, we’ve got a pair of exclusive videos from Perry’s massive performance at Coachella last spring, courtesy of the Subatomic crew. The first features a straightforward clip of Perry performing “War Inna Babylon,” the Perry-produced Max Romeo track from 1976, while the second mixes various highlights with footage from Perry’s Coachella-weekend art show at Dem Passwords gallery in LA.