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Live Review: Soulful Reggae Pioneer Sister Nancy Burns Bright At Dub Club's Anniversary

"Dub" is "bud" spelled backwards... We came up with this brilliantly baked nugget (pun intended) of wisdom last night while waiting to get into at the Dub Club, which saw possibly the longest line ever for the popular Echo Park reggae night.

The "Bam Bam" queen.
The "Bam Bam" queen.
Lina Lecaro

Yes, there was lots of time to think up dumb stuff like stoner anagrams, and munchie out (there was a food truck and sidewalk hot dog stands, natch), and smoke (duh!) for the hundreds who stood along Glendale Blvd. all the way under the Sunset bridge to get into the Echoplex. The club's 10th anniversary party nearly hit capacity by 11 pm. and some waited for well over an hour. Many just left. We worked our press creds and somehow made it inside (behind No Doubt's Tony Kanal) before midnight, greeted by the sounds of Bob Marley, and hordes of heaving, happy bodies.

Dub Club may in fact be the happiest club in LA. Its multi-culty masses never cease to be moved by the music and cush-y (Kush-y?), chill-laxed vibe here. The blissful, beat-driven feeling is palpable not only on the dark, dreadlock-specked dance floor but on stage too.

The club's jam-like procession of vocalists from the dub, reggae and dancehall world, share, trade and command the mic depending on the mood, while the clubs DJ/promoters Tom Chasteen and Roy Corduroy aka Jason Mason (singer for twang heroes Whisky Biscuit and DJ at other area dance spots including Tuesday's Thriftcoteque at The Short Stop and Punky Reggae at La Cita with The Part Time Punk dudes) spin the backing beats.

Last night General Trees and Tippa Lee offered mesmerizing rhythmic flows to the fete, but the star of the evening was definitely the soulful Sister Nancy, who worked the crowd with chatter ("Deese tunes are older den most of you," she teased) and slayed the room with her signature emotive singing/scatting style.

Sister Love.
Sister Love.
Lina Lecaro

The dancehall diva, who's also known as one of the first female DJs of the genre, didn't get on the decks, but she did dance a lot, and her performance was a ferocious fire by the time she got to the hit (a Dub Club favorite) "Bam Bam," which turned interactive with the crowd shouting out its bombastic chorus at the top of their (smoke-weary?) lungs.

After her set, different, mostly elder irie figures took turns on the mic, each as hypnotic and powerful as the next. The energy level wasn't quite what it was only an hour earlier, but that's often how it goes here. After 10 years, Dub Club still shines bright, but by nature, there will always be point in the evening when things slowly start to burn out.

More in next week's Nightranger column.


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