Review: Gentleman’s Dub Club (O2 Academy Sheffield)

Gentleman’s Dub Club have forged a reputation as one of the UK’s most popular reggae bands. By fusing blends of reggae, ska and dub, the nine-piece band from Leeds have created their own unique and vibrant sound. Their latest tour follows the release of their second studio album, The Big Smoke, which provides an eclectic mix of charming vocals amid serene melodies and intense brass instrumentals.

A rousing greeting awaited lead vocalist Jonathan Scratchley as he bounded onto the stage in synonymously lively fashion. The eager audience were swiftly enticed into a syncopated sway by the melodic ‘Music is the Girl I Love’ and a cluster of tracks from their latest album. Saxophonist Keiren Gallager’s mesmerising solo generated a tranquility before the contrasting and energetic ‘Emergency’ provided an unorthodox edge, showcasing the band’s dynamism.

The band dropped three teasing new songs which will prove popular should they be released in the near future. Two of which epitomised the new direction of The Big Smoke: both exhibiting the song-writing talents of the group as the captivating melody combined with soothing vocals in a more traditional, lovers rock style. The exuberant instrumental third proved to be the most memorable and was more in keeping with the bands first and more dub centric album FOURtyFOUR

The final stages of the concert saw the band return to its earliest releases. ‘Gentleman’s Sleng' from their Members Only EP saw the band take their own spin on the timeless ‘sleng teng riddim.’ The highlight, however, was undoubtedly ‘High Grade’. The first off-beat chords stirred the audience into their own rendition of the catchy chorus, much to the admiration of the band on stage. By far the lengthiest song of the night, it demonstrated every crucial asset of the band. At one point, the bass line completely took hold in a nostalgic delve into dub, while the drums and distorting synth combined to create a peerless atmosphere. The piece was concluded emphatically with Matt Roberts’ penetrating trumpet solo.

After promptly leaving the stage, the crowd’s rapture ensured it was only a short excursion as the band were soon back for the encore and blasting the dub heavy ‘Riot’. The concert was brought to a final crescendo as the band rounded off with ‘Fire’; the screaming horns and thundering bass line proving a fitting finale. Gentleman’s Dub Club fortified their status as exhilarating live performers: they redefine what it means to be ‘energetic’, yet match this effervescence with unique and captivating substance.

Upcoming Gigs:

Mar 15, Terminal 1 Sofia, Bulgaria

Mar 16, Horizon Festival, Bansko, Bulgaria

Apr 02, Streets & Yards, Nantes, France

May 01, Teddy Rocks Festival, Blandford Forum, United Kingdom

May 14, The Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender, Sand, United Kingdom

May 26, Hijacked Festival, Exeter, United Kingdom

Jun 10, Eden Festival, Dumfries, United Kingdom

Jun 26, Product Earth Alternative Future Expo, Peterborough, United Kingdom

Jul 02, El Dorado Festival, Ledbury, United Kingdom

Jul 03, SummerJam, Koln, Germany

Jul 16, Beat-Herder Festival, Clitheroe, United Kingdom

Jul 22, Nozstock, The Hidden Valley, Bromyard, United Kingdom

Aug 07, Soundwave, Tisno, Croatia

Aug 17, Rototom Sunsplash, Benicàssim, Spain

Aug 19, Beautiful Days, Escot Park, United Kingdom

Aug 20, The Watering Hole, Perranporth, United Kingdom 

Oct 07, The Picturedrome, Northampton, United Kingdom

Oct 08, Bedford Esquires, Bedford, United Kingdom

Oct 22, Southampton Engine Rooms, Southampton, United Kingdom

Oct 28, O2 Academy Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

Nov 11, Tramshed, Cardiff, United Kingdom