In It for the Music

November 11th, 2010

The Dub Trio – Mercury Lounge – November 10, 2010

The Dub Trio

The Dub Trio

I think it was Ian MacKaye of Fugazi who said in the punk documentary American Hardcore that when he was growing up everyone always said they started a band to get famous or get girls. It amazed him that no one ever talked about actually playing music. Watching the Dub Trio and the equally talented CSC Funk Band play the early show at Mercury Lounge last night, there’s absolutely no doubt that they are in it for the music.

The Dub Trio sports an eclectic pedigree, having played and toured with the Fugees, Mos Def and Macy Gray among others, not that you can pick out any of those references in the mostly metal onslaught of their live show. If it says anything about their combination of styles it’s that you aren’t going to hear anything quite like it. The “Dub” part does frequently appear in the ways they resample the drums, live, with an array of effects that would make Battles jealous. Joe Tomino’s intricate percussion runs through jazz and reggae rhythms into the delay-heavy echo typical of the genre. But under a backdrop of cyberpunk-psychedelic projections the pause is a welcome contrast to the tidal wave of amazingly technical instrumental metal. It’s in this structured improvisation that something really unique can happen and the appeal of this crossover is evident in the group’s mix of fans. It’s no surprise their latest album, Another Sound Is Dying, found a home on Mike Patton’s homespun label, Ipecac Recordings.

In the spirit of unprecedented genre smashing, openers the CSC Funk Band even ended their set with a trombone blasting a Wu-Tang cover. The lineup pairing was a perfect example of what both bands are essentially doing. There’s no formulaic master plan and they don’t need to prove anything—they are extremely talented musicians who are paying homage to diverse styles in utterly unique ways. —Jason Dean