Being a Forest Fields native, the name Dreadzone immediately brings back teenage memories of sneaking into DIY, Desert Storm and MegaDog free parties back in the mid-90s where I used to steal a few beers and dance like a fool until mid-morning.
Walking into the Rescue Rooms I notice how varied Dreadzone’s fanbase is: teenagers through to fifty-somethings, dreadlocked freegans to clean-cut banker-types. Grabbing a Red Stripe and surveying the assembled masses, I get a sneaking suspicion this might be a show to remember.
Stepping on stage the band do not disappoint: heavy dub and reggae influenced dance music, a million miles away from today’s overly programmed dubstep gets the eclectic crowd moving straight away. Playing a mixture of their back catalogue, new tracks and covers (notably a brief refrain of ‘Get Up, Stand Up’) Dreadzone keeps the place bouncing, the fact the lead vocalist is on crutches and sitting on a stool throughout the set is rendered obsolete by the sheer energy the ensemble emits.
The free party vibe is alive and well, an entirely positive atmosphere where even the incoherent drunk guy is greeted with smiles as he pushes his way to the front, climbs through the barriers and shocks-out next to the stage. This is music to dance to with a big grin on your face, a mixture of hippy free-party trance and ska. These guys know how to rock a crowd, with an ‘Oi! Oi!’ and a shout out to the ‘Wednesday Crew’.