Thirty Years in the Dreadzone

Dreadzone, the Phoenix rising from the ashes of Big Audio Dynamite’s success, when drummer Greg Roberts and keyboardist Dan Donovan teamed with Julian Cope’s sound engineer Tim Bran, were the prolific electronic dance triumph of post-rave….

Owing their accomplishment to the fine blend of reggae into the contemporary melting pot of dance culture, harking back to Two-Tone yet too encompassed the burgeoning breakbeat house scene which in turn would fuel drum and bass. But Dreadzone never went there, the final piece of the jigsaw was bringing in vocalist Earl 16, and they stuck to their guns producing memorable anthems of techno-reggae dub bliss, particularly unforgettable being Little Britain sampling Carl Orff’s Auf Dem Anger.

But if you, like me, were bouncing around a muddy field like Zebedee on a day out from the magic garden to a 1937 classical symphony you might not appreciate me reminding you, Dreadzone celebrate their thirtieth anniversary this year; but it might cushion the blow by letting you know you can join the party at Frome’s Cheese & Grain on Friday 21st April.

Still in the forefront of the festival scene, in 2022, Dreadzone refocussed their show after MC Spee was forced to step back from touring and they explored different aspects of their history and catalogue ahead of their 30th anniversary this year. With a reconfigured line-up for 2023, the band’s live shows will feature core members Greg Dread and original bassmaster Leo Williams, plus legendary reggae vocalist Earl 16, as well as Bazil on technology and Blake Robert (Greg’s son) on guitar.

They have been releasing albums and progressively bettering, refining, and perfecting their own unique and inimitable take on dub since their inception in 1993. Dreadzone opened the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 1994, though if memories of that are hazy at best, I fondly recall a night at Shepard’s Bush Empire in 1995 when I was still dancing to an imaginary dubplate in the cloakroom queue!

With plans for their 30th Anniversary firmly underway, standby for a new studio album later in the year too.

Tickets are on sale now and priced at £25.00+BF, available here.


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