LIVE: Gentleman’s Dub Club @ O2 Ritz | 09.11.18
WORDS BY TIM MOONEY
The wonderful thing about dub and reggae music is that no matter how much of a miserable sod you may be, it is almost impossible not to crack a smile and sway peacefully (or jump manically) to the sounds of a dub band. Especially when that band is Gentleman’s Dub Club. With an explosion of pure energy in every one of their performances alongside a back-catalogue of sing-along crowd favourites, Gentleman’s Dub Club are capable of injecting life into even the grumpiest of folks.
I’m lucky enough to have seen Gentleman’s Dub Club perform a couple of times before, and their show at Manchester’s O2 Ritz began with the same wailing siren call that carries them on to the stage every time. The regular fans in the crowd knew immediately to unleash their excitement at the sound of the siren, and sure enough, the band took to the stage wearing matching formal attire and released the unmistakable sound of syncopated reggae rhythms as the brass section began to wail an opening riff.
Soon enough front-man Jonathan Scratchley marches on stage, grinning ecstatically at the crowd and flaying his arms at his side. This confident entrance sent an immediate wave of energy and happiness over the excitable audience. The moment that the drums broke in to full swing, both crowd and band began bouncing enthusiastically like raucous members of ska bands so often do. Knees up and arms in the air is the only way to fully immerse yourself in the spirit of a Gentleman’s Dub Club gig.
With a fully loaded stage hosting GDC’s eight members, there was constantly something of interest to absorb your attention, as eyes drifted from drummer to guitarist to percussionist to keys. The other benefit to having such a large band is the sense of energy they could bring to the stage so easily. In particular, the front-man and two-piece brass section were able to move freely around the stage constantly throughout the set, bringing an engaging dynamism to their performance which meant you couldn’t resist hopping around ludicrously in a similar fashion to the band on stage.
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Despite the undeniable cheerfulness of Gentleman’s Dub Club’s music, Scratchley took a brief moment towards the end of their set to address the crowd, explaining that he had been having a hard time over the last few days. He then proceeded to thank his audience for making him feel so good and explained that he was all better now, this was received by fans with deafening cheers of sheer joy to be a part of this particular moment.
All in all, Gentleman’s Dub Club certainly didn’t fail to inject the Ritz with an addictive dose of pure carefree energy. Their sing-along favourites such as High Grade, Fire, and Music is the Girl I Love fully delivered and kept the audience hopping from foot to foot. The next time I see Gentleman’s Dub Club at a gig, I’ll consider rocking some sportswear for the workout.