Surprising: Dub reggae makes trip worth it

Akshun and Dubfire
at the Garden of Sheba
October 18, 2003

To tell the truth, I really haven't felt the urge to see a great deal of live music recently. I couldn't tell you whether it's the lack of seriously engaging acts coming to town or my own personal aversion to attending the same venues time and again. It very well could be the cold whether telling me to stay at home. (I am of the tropical people, you know.)

Whatever the case, the motivation just isn't there. Friday night I forced myself to head over the Outback Lodge. I was curious about what was so "all star" about the Oregon Hill Funk All Stars. Don't get me wrong– they were a great ensemble of musicians. I've seen many of the eight-piece band in various other bands from the Richmond area.

This one was by far the best. They even played a rendition of that Beck song where he's talking about getting with a girl and her sister... I think her name was Deborah. But no matter how well they jammed, I just couldn't get in the right mood to stick around for the whole show. It's really easy to get all funk'd out in this town.

Saturday I made another valiant attempt at an enjoyable music outing. This time the Garden of Sheba was my destination. To my surprise, the band– Akshun and Dubfire– were much more than I expected.

Hailing from D.C., they brought out a full dub sound system that was highly impressive. Two guitars, drums, keys, bass, and dub engineer filled the small room with massive sounds of dancehall, roots, and dub reggae.

What drew me in the most were the smooth yet powerful vocals of Akshun. This guy could blow something fierce. I mean, throughout the entire show it felt as if you were listening to a CD­ his singing was nearly flawless (dubbed out or with no EFX).

Despite the very lacking crowd, the band still rocked through a set of well-crafted original songs, keeping the few heads in attendance mesmerized.

As I left that evening, I was glad I pulled myself off the couch and made my way through the cold. One can make a lot of excuses for not going out and supporting the music that comes to town.

In the end they're just excuses. Sometimes you will be disappointed. Then again you may just find that the band you least expected has what it takes to become your new favorite.

Akshun and Dubfire