It's Friday afternoon and you've been awake now since four in the morning, but your mate has already shouted you, reminding you that you MUST come to System's 6th birthday. So what do you do? Well, I'll tell you what I did, now nearing 6pm, I clocked out of work, rushed home to get changed and somewhat intoxicated on the hour-long tube journey into the heart of Camden.
Let's start with the venue, despite being a pain in the a** to find the entrance, Dingwalls provided a perfect environment suitable to house a heavily sound system oriented night. In addition to the simple decor (in other words no branding at all), the wall of speakers was more than adequate to fill that gap. Said wall opened out onto a single dancefloor, dark yet welcoming, inviting fellow dub heads to gather and skank in homage to the sound system veterans; with opening act System Roots adding to the dynamic with clean dub hi's and just a little taste of what the SYSTEM system could really do.
Having recently been thrown head first into the dubstep scene in the last few years, this SYSTEM night finalised my transition and cemented the scene as my new home. Being from a family that has always appreciated not just music, but sound system music (my paps and his brothers/cousins used to play at carnival), seeing head honcho Vivek and the rest of the SYSTEM crew constantly at the dials, ensuring the sound stays weighty throughout the night really rang through to me in the moment. Not only that but the engagement with the crowd, the old school toasting style of Dego Ranking meshing beautifully with the more modern approach adopted by SP:MC later on in the night.
After we were eased in with some hard tumping dub and reggae tracks, this was followed up with the Bandulu flex that is the Bristolian Kahn, bringing with him remixes so dutty it would probably have blown off Donald Trump's toupé if he was there. His effortless selection was then complimented by the equally as mukky sounds of Sleeper, unearthing more layers to the night than Daniel Craig in Layer Cake. The energy was then taken to the next level with the animated Silkie taking to the decks. With funky inspired tracks and an almost garagey flex underlying his set, he allowed the night to reach another crescendo, building up for a SYSTEM dubplate special to top the night off when Vivek finally steps up to the decks to see off a well-rounded night of sound system appreciation. Despite being awake for 24 hours by this point, every second was worth it.
Word on the street is there’s another SYSTEM in the pipeline, go peep Fatsoma:
Images sourced with blessing of Sam Wilch Photography: