The Gig: Dub Trio
Where: The Garrison, Toronto, ON, Canada
When: 4 November 2011
In One Word: Absorbing
“Imagine if Queens Of The Stone Age made a dub record…”
That is the quickest way I could think about beginning to attempt to describe Dub Trio to a friend the morning after seeing the Brooklyn, New York band play an intense gig on Friday night in Toronto. Despite being based in NYC, this was something of a local show for Dub Trio as two of the band members come from nearby Toronto, with guitarist Dave “DP” Holmes from Welland, near St. Catherines, Ontario and bass player Stu Brooks from Oakville.
It’s a great feeling when you see discover a band that you NEED to tell your friends about. With all the shows that I’ve been to, and all the new music I hear every week, I become increasingly harder to please and moments like this become rarer. Overexposure to anything will leave you desensitized. A hardened critic.
Coming into this show, I had no idea what to expect. After listening to a few tracks from Dub Trio IV, Dub Trio’s latest album, I found them interesting enough to make them the banner pick for November’s concert guide. I’ll pat myself on the back for that one but on paper this always pointed to be a safe bet: the band have just come off from another stint touring with Matisyahu as his backing band and have worked with Mike Patton.
With one man on bass and keyboard, one on guitar and one on drums, and with a veritable arsenal of effects pedals and patches tying them altogether, Dub Trio delivered an absorbing set of instrumental, heavy rock which seamlessly mixes brooding metal and punk riffing with reggae dub. Everything is held down by the heavy bass riffs. The end product is a hard rock dub fusion which gets mega heavy while managing to remain as cool as a fool in a pool. Rock music? More like a bloody iceberg. Seriously chill. But deadly.
The vibe be generated by the music of Dub Trio and their audience was ultimate; everyone seemed ‘into it’, to varying degrees, with a room full of people quietly absorbed and losing themselves to the music. I was hearing most of these songs for the first time, but one highlight from the set that I picked out was “Bay Vs. Leonard”, a song that sees the band merge Rasta dub with chill electronic, heavier metal guitar hooks and hard drums. The absence of vocals and lyrics is a fact to mention, but it matters not – the music has it’s own life, performed with a symbiotic energy between the band members.
I was impressed by the level of musicianship by Dub Trio and the level of articulation employed by each band member using their delays, loops and effects to switch tempo and shift mood: this isn’t just dumb noise by boys with stomp boxes, these guys are true mad scientists who are masters of creating mood with their instruments. The most interesting rock/dub marriage I’ve heard since The Clash’s forays with dub and reggae.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
Photos of Dub Trio at The Garrison: