Dutty Moonshine Big Band Light Up London’s Electric Brixton

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Written and Captured By | Morris Shamah

Dutty Moonshine Big Band rolled their circus into town on Friday night, performing as part of the Electric Lates series at Electric Brixton. Doors opened promptly at 9pm for the five-act, six-hour extravaganza. Early comers were welcomed by the beat drops of rising DJ duo &?, but most patrons went straight for the balcony bar, leaving the main floor eerily empty for the majority of their one hour opening set. A few lone individuals took advantage of the dancing space to warm up their moves while “And” and “What” delivered build and drop, build and drop.

See more photos of &? HERE

Up next was Funke & The Two Tone Baby, and despite a shorter, 45 minute slot, Funke (pronounced “Funky”) made a much stronger impression. A one-man band, Funke deftly used acoustic guitar, keyboard, vocals, harmonica, a looper, effects, and a mixing deck to create a cacophony of blues-stomp dance music. Matching Ed Sheeran’s acoustic looping with Jack Whites aggressive blues vocal, all through the lens of a ska dance beat, Funke’s combination of songwriting and electricity meant everyone had a reason to a pay attention.

See more photos of Funke & The Two Tone Baby HERE

Booty Bass DJs, a black-led, female/non-binary DJ collective, went back to the CDJs to provide the final hour before the Dutty Moonshine took the stage. DJs Fabienne, Azula Bandit, and Ayyden shared the decks, cheering each other on, filming, dancing, and hyping both the crowd and themselves. There’s nothing more infectious than friends having fun, and the joy rippled from the stage through the audience. All three DJs have different styles they never strayed too far from a high bpm, ama-esque mix of good fun and warm vibes.

See more photos of Booty Bass DJs HERE 

By midnight, the crowd is primed for Dutty Moonshine Big Band to finally perform, and they did not disappoint. Blasting out like a cannonball, the 12-piece ensemble were pure energy from the first note to the final bows. A modern electronic-ska-dance reinvention of the classic big band formula, Dutty Moonshine evokes the gloriousness of old-school brass performance with the uniqueness of a Punchdrunk production. The band covered all genres from rockabilly to reggaeton, from two-tone to “dirty fucking bass music.” The 7-piece horn section simply did not stop, and all three vocalists spit out lyrics sixty miles an hour, each of them charismatic and confident enough to front a stage all by themselves.

See more photos of Dutty Mooshine Big Band HERE

They were out to support their third album, Villian, which they did – a full 10 tracks from their latest release were performed across their 26-song, 90-minute set, including bringing out two guests who played on Villian, as well. The crowd sang and danced along to every minute, taking lead on singalongs in “Bang Bang” and “Fuck off in G Minor”. The crowd also took lead over venue security, who tried and failed to stop people from climbing on shoulders towards the end of the show.

By the end of the set, everyone was sweaty, elated, and transported, not in the least bit those on stage. But the night was not over – during the final goodbyes, the stage was converted once again into a DJ booth. The lights went down, mostly off, and those few that remained on turned a deep shade of green as Fabio and Grooverider, the originators of drum & bass, came out to bring the rave back to Brixton.

See more photos of Fabio & Grooverider HERE

Immediately dropping into the signature fast-paced deep tones of the genre they helped develop over twenty years ago, the legendary duo took the stage with the calm professionalism you’d expect. They let the music talk for them, and the real rave heads in the audience – including some of Booty Bass Djs – stuck around to dance into the early morning, while the rest slowly filtered out into the cold Brixton night.


Photos By | Morris Shamah