There aren’t many things I miss about the UK, but the ease of finding a decent club night is undoubtedly one of them. While there exists a great deal of quality live music in Granada, finding it, from time to time, can be a trying task. This can be broadly attributed to the fact that the city’s clubbing scene caters almost exclusively for its burgeoning Erasmus community. You need only set foot in either ‘Granada 10’– a glittery cinema-converted discotheque located in the city centre, or ‘El Camborio’– a two-story hilltop-perched nightclub which, somewhat incongruously, faces the majestic Alhambra Palace, to get wind of that. Both are the most popular club venues in Granada and both play the worst music. It’s a crying shame considering the design and layout of the venues themselves.
Further investigation, however, will prove more fruitful, and La Sala El Tren is perhaps the best example of that. Over the last decade, the warehouse-sized venue has staged a variety of live acts and big-name DJs in the jungle/dub scene – often to sell-out crowds – courtesy of various events labels. Substation is doubtless the most notorious of these, and has in recent years lured the likes of DJ Hype, Congo Natty and Asian Dub Foundation to the Granadian juke joint. More recently, La Sala hosted Tarragona’s Bongo Botrako, whose rumba, reggae and trumpet-fronted rhythms had the 500-strong crowd bouncing in one gleeful and frenzied ska-pit for hours on end.
Tonight though, once again thanks to Substation, it is the turn of drum & bass outfit Dirtyphonics to shake the reverberating venue to its core. Back for their second outing in twelve months, the Parisian duo have drawn a sizable horde for the event – evidenced by the queue more akin to a rugby scrum spewing forth from the door on our arrival. Casual chatter in the scrum reveals why:
“I come here from Jaén” exclaims one bass fan in front.
“And me Valencia!” blurts another, “There is my car!” He nods in the direction of an old, rusting hatchback, complete with a joke-sized speaker system that can be seen through the rear window. It is not the only one. In fact, there is a dozen or so more neatly lined up along the other side of the street, each hammering out their own distorted tempos to their own private posses of rum-chugging ravers. This sort of thing isn’t unusual for La Sala – there is even a dilapidated petrol station to the rear that routinely serves as an overspill area for the club itself. A heightened sense of zeal hangs in the air as we edge closer to the door.
Dirtyphonics eventually take to the stage at 4am, and hold nothing back from the onset. It is pure, undiluted rowdiness; a roaring flow of skanking frequencies and earsplitting basslines from start to finish. It’s unlikely that a great deal of those present will know more than one or two tunes, but people aren’t here to sing along. They are here to dance, lose all inhibitions and behave like demented people for a few hours. There isn’t a still-bodied individual in sight.
Towards the end of the set, Pitchin, one quarter of the Dirtyphonics, can’t resist an impromptu stage dive into the pulsating crowd. It goes down well, as does the fervent spokesman’s final sentiment before they depart:
“Muchas gracias! Nos encanta Granada!”
And we love you too, Dirtyphonics. Please come back soon.