Channel One in Southall, UK March 2010
Channel One at Southall Community Center, March 2010 - (Peter Lionheart - Lionheart Sounds)
As I step into the legendary Southall Community Center on the west side of London, the first thing I feel is the bass. Pouring out of the scoop bins on the far side of the room, it hits me in the chest, enveloping me with a warm and deep feeling. As the driving drums, the skanking guitar, the victorious horns, and the heartfelt vocals all come into perspective, I feel a powerful vibe in myself, and I know I am experiencing something new. I continue into the hall, finding a sweet spot in front of the 10 by 10 ft speaker stack, and to the side of where the selector is playing records, and controlling the amps, eq, and sound effects. Contrary to a stage show, this "control tower" is on the wall in the middle of the audience, where the sound is best. I look around at a diverse crowd of people; Indians, Africans, and Europeans; baldheads, dread locks, and turbans; all enjoying the music.
As the first tune ends and the selector, Mikey Dread, pulls the needle off the record, the void of sound after the full immersion is striking. Immediately voices call out, "Gwaan Mikey," "Yes Channel One", encouraging him to continue. The anticipation grows when the needle hits the wax of the next selection, and the warm and distinctive hiss of a well-played record fills the space. And then a drum roll rings out and the riddim comes alive in the air and bodies of all present. As the sweet voice of Rod Taylor cries out, "Jah Jah see, and knowing, every little thing, Oh they don't know that his eyes is watching them..." the omniscient presence of the Most High is brought into conscious focus.
When the tune ends, the selector quickly reaches up, fluidly lifting and setting down the needle, as he flips the 45 on the eye level turntable. And now it is time for the "Dub", the stripped down instrumental version. When the riddim drops for the
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