Antwerp, Belgium, has built a tradition when it comes to devoted Reggae fans who actively promote their beloved music through Sound Systems, radio shows, Reggae concerts and festivals. At the beginning of a new millennium Antwerp based recordshop "Doctor Vinyl" is the initiator of bringing a new dimension to the Dancehall/Reggae scene in a town that, more or less, has a special association with Reggae music. To start off their activities the promoters of "Doctor Vinyl" contracted renown David 'the Genleman Rudebwoy' Rodigan alongside local Sound Systems "Far West Crew" and "Bong Productions" for a contemporary Dancehall event, which was going to take place at the brand new venue of the "Antwerp Engineering Company" on Saturday, 19th February 2000. London's number one discjockey David Rodigan can be regarded as one of the best selectors when it comes to "nice up the dance". For more than 20 years now he has been working as a radio deejay, broadcasting his shows for BBC Radio, BFBS Radio and Kiss 100, a local station in London.
Before that Rodigan was already involved in bringing the music "live" to an audience as he started playing in 1967 in school parties, youth clubs and other discos. Collecting Jamaican music for over thirty years Rodigan, by now, boasts one of the most comprehensive collection of reggae records. Over the years David Rodigan also established his name in the competitive Sound System business with tough and memorable clashes against Barry G, Stone Love, G.T. Taylor, Killamanjaro, Bodyguard, to name but a few. Many of these sound clashes are availabe on tape, video, and even on compact disc. Listening to David Rodigan playing his dubplate specials "inna de dance" is often listening with a big smile, because most of his specials have extraordinary and, above all, humorous intros. The ideas for these unique intros spring from Rodigan's own brains, which fully expresses the creativity and humor this man has.
It was almost midnight when we arrived at the ‘Antwerp Engineering Company’, which happened to be a nice venue for this event. The selectors of 'Bong Productions', a Sound System based in the 'Kempen', were already spinning a nice selection of tunes to warm up the people in the house, who eagerly awaited David Rodigan's entrance. At about 1 o'clock Rodigan took the stage, grabbed in his dub box and opened his set with two wicked Bunny Wailer specials, thus setting the pace for the first part of his show. Dubplate specials from past and present were given a spin on the turntables and although David Rodigan's deliverance was burdened by technical problems - the bass sound didn't came through that well and the mic had to much echo to produce a good sound - he professionally handled the problems and delivered a satisfying set.

The crowd reacted enthusiastically when Rodigan gave them Dancehall tunes - mainly specials - from way back. But also contemporary Dancehall/Ragga specials and tunes across such blazing riddims as "Street Sweeper", "Bitter Blood" or "Grass Cyaat" were well received. With the dancefloor filled with people dancing and skanking to the music, and whistles and lighters expressing the fans approval, it was obvious everybody was having a real good time.

When Rodigan took a break, it was the Far West Crew's hard task to keep the party going. This Sound System from Antwerp consists of a young MC and selector, who both made a good impression. During their set they introduced Danny Pepperseed from Holland, joining them to spin some 'Obsession' dubplate specials. After that David Rodigan came back for his second set. The technical problems were seemingly solved as the sound was far better than during his first appearance, and also the mic did function properly.
With much old "straight" tunes and an approximately 20 minutes lasting hardcore Dancehall/Ragga sequence he continued to entertain the enthusiastic crowd. The vibes were right and even reached a higher level when he payed tribute to reggae's Crownprince and King, Dennis "Emmanuel" Brown and Bob Marley, by spinning tunes like "Here I Come", "Promised Land", "One Drop" and "Buffalo Soldier". It was obvious the people liked to hear these reggae classics, which led to a massive sing-a-long. It was already early in the morning when we decided to go home, leaving Rodigan, his dub box and, most of all his satisfied fans, behind. Compliments for the promoters of this very enjoyable and entertaining event, which hopefully marks the start of a series of similar Dancehall/Reggae events.
Writers: Teacher & Mr. T. ~ Photos: Teacher

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