LTJ Bukem

Duncan Richardson

LTJ Bukem @ Village Underground

Galatic Steppa was at The Village Underground Club to review the LTJ Bukem night with Om Unit, here’s what he thought….

The Village Underground Club –  part of a creative community space born out of a victorian warehouse –  is tucked away down Holywell Lane off Shoreditch High Street. Inside it is an impressive high brick walled space with the decks, stage and speaker banks at the back of one end, the sound and light engineers at the other and enough space to brock out in the middle. On entering Tom Central is on the decks with some drum driven, deep bass tunes working the subs and tweeters. He’s mixing it up nicely with the dance floor slowly beginning to fill. Tom Central ends on the Krome & Time’s classic Ganja Man.

Om Unit is on starting with a deep bass, high reverb intro slowly building as more people filter in through the doors. His production, as always, is of the highest standard with the bass beginning to rattle your ribcage. It’s building nicely, knowingly, waiting for the drop. Interspersed breaks with increasing frequency. Then the jungle drops.

Om Unit’s in the flow. Nasty dark bass lines with wickedly fast jungle breaks through to flowing snares and piano liquified Drum & Bass then back into the jungle. The sound system is loud, very clear with an impressive low end and Om Unit’s Bristol Sound is using the full spectrum. Its taking time for the crowd to dig in and dance. He then brings in the old skool vibes including dropping Goldie’s seminal Inner City Life. Now the dance floor is shafting and bouncing.

The original ‘Shadow Boxing’ is mixed into Om Unit’s Remix the crowds buzzin. The mixing is superb and everything’s flowing nicely then the music cuts out mid mix. The crowd doesn’t know if it’s part of the mix. The technical difficulty is dealt with quickly and we’re back up n banging. Roni Size’s ‘Share The Fall’ drops

LTJ Bukem is in the building but he’s letting Om Unit continue to smash up the dance floor which there’s no doubt. 20mins later and the torch is on the decks on the stage above Om Unit you can feel the anticipation building. Om Unit moves from from the heavy jungle drums to some lovely flowing D&B setting it up nicely.


Crowds cheering, Bukem’s on with a nice flowing jazzy roller. No lights up or on the legendary DJ. No final shout for Om Unit but what a set. The crowds moving, lets see how the 1st mix goes down. I’ve seen LTJ here 2 years ago with Roni Size and in Southampton at the Soul Cellar (shamefully now one of the many closed clubs) and he’s not been at his best. The mixings smooth, same as his tune selection. There’s a flow to the tunes that’s slowly building. The decks drop out again and the engineer makes his way up to the decks. All that hard work has to start again. Now the old skool tunes are seamless mixed in, no chopping no messing.

A last minute addition, MC Illaman jumps up on the stage and takes the atmosphere up an extra 10 degrees. Incomes ’19.5’. Its taken a while, now everybody’s dancing and the lights shine on LTJ Bukem for the 1st time and he’s sporting a flat cap. He’s easing back on the heavy jungle breaks to a more liquid vibe though this is only so the Godfather can bring it back to a climax. The pace starts building and now we’re into classic Bukem, Promised Land Volume 2, early Logical Progression. Build up, easing you down, build again then ease off and then build you up and up. The LTJ Journey. The tunes are being chopped, the mixing is slick, the MC’s pumping the crowd and 10 minutes after his sets meant to finish we have the 1st rewind of the night. Bukem is making up for lost time. When the sets up and lights are up, the appreciation is loud and deserved.

LTJ Bukem’s started slow easing the tunes in and out but the last half hour he showed why he is the Godfather of Drum and Bass. A great night, good crowd at a great venue.

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22 January, 2014
Duncan Richardson
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