With the last train to the wilds of the Kapiti Coast locked in at just after 1am, and with the only later option being a $150-odd taxi fare, I was desperate for the main act to begin his set as soon as possible so I could make that train. That meant sitting through three or four local DJs before Radikal Guru announced his presence to a packed bar around midnight.
The build up was an enjoyable enough excursion into all facets of bass music - heavy dub, one drop, glitchy dubstep, some higher bpm stuff - with Ras Stone’s set of mostly rootsy material, plus some voiceover/toasting, being the best of a pretty good support bunch.
Radikal Guru opened with a tribute to King Tubby, which seemed like an appropriate way to kick off a set which was, for the not-quite-hour or so I was there, drenched in the roots reggae flavours championed by the late great Jamaican producer.
From there, non-original material was mashed together with original Radikal Guru stuff, and tunes like ‘Warning’ (off his Subconscious album) went down a treat with a crowd that was generally much younger than I had anticipated.
You never know quite what you’re going to get when it comes to DJ “gigs”, but the Polish producer was in top form, which was an achievement in itself given his gruelling touring schedule. It also won’t have been particularly easy translating a lot of his original material into a live setting, especially at a small venue like Laundry, reliant as that work surely is on exploring space and sonic possibilities with all manner of in-house studio technology.
But it was all too brief, all over in a flash really, and the bar was absolutely heaving by the time I was tasked with flying out the door to make that last god-forsaken train.
No complaints, at just $10 on the door, as brief as it was, I felt a little humbled to be sharing the same rarefied air as an artist I’ve long admired from a distance. Thanks to Nice Up, Laundry, and the man himself.