Tag Archives: substation

All aboard La Sala El Tren, Granada

salatrensg9There 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.


Review: Substation’s ‘Terror Bass Planet’

Substation Terror Bass PlanetIf ever the expression ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’ could be used more fittingly then I’d like to hear some suggestions please.

‘Terror’ and ‘bass’ just about summed up the theme for Wednesday’s proceedings at the festival venue-sized El Embrujo, just outside of Granada. The site was inundated with scarily-clad punters stumbling about the place, as though they were actual zombies as opposed to assumed ones. Some, presumably in observation of traditional Spanish custom (or lack thereof in this instance), didn’t bother with the Halloween pretense, though it has to be said that by the end of the night these cynics blended in with the rest of the crowd quite convincingly.

Musically, this event was always going to be nothing but no nonsense, hold-on-to-your-mate-style, watertight drum and bass, intended to deliver to its zealous revelers several hours of loud and undiluted fun.

And this, unsurprisingly, was exactly what happened. Fun was had by all- certainly by I and my fellow rave-ees in any case. Our only grumble of the night came before we even arrived, owing to the frustratingly slapdash transport system. The shuttle buses provided for the event were, as one would reasonably expect, included in the ticket’s hefty price-tag, but the first hour of our evening was spent shivering under a bridge waiting for a bus that was allegedly just five minutes behind the last one.

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When we finally did arrive though, the good times came in rolling thick and fast; Congo Natty and MC Tenor Fly had already drawn a sizeable horde and ran riot with expertly fused old-school reggae and knee jerking jungle tracks throughout an impressive set. To follow were equally as polished performances from Million Like Us and Aphrodite, who ensured that the D&B mayhem continued to bash the eardrums of all present.

Congo Natty
Congo Natty a.k.a Rebel MC

Meanwhile, Panacea and Audio cranked up the noise over at the indoor arena with an onslaught of more bass-laden beats to the delight of all those present, but it was undoubtedly headliners Pendulum who stole the show with a markedly professional set capped with a much appreciated rendition of legendary track ‘Tarantula’.

Many a bass-head will tell you that this Aussie outfit sold out on proper D&B a few years back when they took the genre into mainstream territory for the first time, but love em’ or hate em’, they definitely know how to put on a live show.

The event organisers, Substation, can be proud of their first crack at putting on a show on a festival stage, and according to the man at the helm, Lola, we can expect a few more over the year ahead. In the meantime, however, you can catch Lola and his hard-working team at one of Substation’s regular events at Granada’s La Sala El Tren.

Substation Terror Bass Planet