Recently I was at NASS 2015, where Saturday night’s headliner was none other than the freshly formed Rebel Sound. Comprised of Chase & Status, their MC- Rage, Shy FX and David Rodigan, Rebel Sound’s inception was a result of Reb Bull’s Culture Clash in London last year, which they then went on to win, beating the likes of Boy Better Know, ASAP Mob and Stone Love. Following their popularity and success at this event, they subsequently went on tour appearing at a number of UK festivals including Reading and Leeds, Creamfields, and of course NASS.
Rebel Sound drip fed themselves to us as apposed to exploding out of the blocks. First was David Rodigan with assistance from MC Rage, who churned out the Jamaican tributes and did what he does best, which then led to Shy FX’s unveiling as ‘the second generation of soundboy’ and ‘the original junglist’, followed finally by Chase & Status to make up the third and final generation of soundboy. A cleverly layered and thought out opening.
However, by the time all members of the supergroup were on stage,
it felt like half the performance had already elapsed, with most, if not all of the performance taking inspiration from Rodigan’s background as apposed to Shy FX and Chase & Status’, who are really the artists the audience has come to see. While C&S certainly did play some of their tracks, Eastern Jam, No Problem, International, Machine Gun, Heavy, Hypest Hype come to mind, be aware this is not a Chase & Status gig and all of the above were remixed, reworked, or cut with dubplates to epitomise the new Rebel Sound sound.
While Chase & Status’ hits were used just enough, Shy FX’s were even less utilised. Original Nuttah of course stopped by to say hello, although it was cut with [I think] No Problem, but from my memory and all my camera’s footage there is little-to-no other trace of any of Shy’s extensive catalogue besides a remix of Sam Smith. Everyday, Shake Your Body, Don’t Wanna Know, Feelings, Gangsta Kid, the list of notable absentees was such a blatant disappointment when such a pivotal artist is stood behind the decks.
As well as this, I felt like Rebel Sound were torn by which direction they wanted to take their performance. On the one hand they churn out countless reggae anthems, most of which I know by ear and not by name, constantly nodding at and appreciating the culture that has brought them together, to create a fairly restrained [by their standards] performance. However, in the same show you have one of Chase & Status’ most aggressive and high-octane drops in the form of Machine Gun. Featuring a ‘we’re number one’-spouting, Pusha T-enlisting dub that shook the whole of Somerset, it simply didn’t feel right when a reworked version of garage anthem Little Bit of Luck, or a Meridian Dan dub of German Whip sat in such close proximity.
The more I look back at Rebel Sound’s debut festival appearance, the more I can’t help but feel a tad disappointed. For me there was way too much Rodigan, a few too many unnecessary dubs that didn’t flow or work, and not nearly enough Shy FX. A good chunk of the performance was solid, such as with the layered opening or a fair few cleverly devised reworks, but for those of you wanting to see Chase & Status or Shy FX for what they’re best known for, a Rebel Sound performance may not quite satisfy your cravings.
Verdict – WWV