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  ESP 101 7.13.01
Story and photos by Lei Vishnu

Venue: Celebration Hall (aka The Church) - Atlanta, GA
Presented by: IRIS

Lei VishnuDJ SS, Twisted Individual and Warren G gave the Atlanta DnB heads something to celebrate as they graced our presence thanks to Iris 101 on Friday the 13th. I recently saw SS and Warren G down at Ultra in Miami during the WMC and was thoroughly impressed, so I was overjoyed when I heard they would be in Atlanta.

I arrived fairly early fearing there would be a long line given the sheer talent that would be showcased throughout the night. However, the line was not that long and was moving quickly thanks to thorough but quick security and more than one person taking money. Jeremy & Kia were on when I entered the main room and were getting things started nicely. I always enjoy the chemistry that these two have on the decks that seems to radiate out to the crowd. They are so in tune with each other and their mixing skills are superb, making the tag team set up the perfect match. Each time they switch off the energy level rises because they play off the other one's style and selection. By the time SS started, in Twisted Individual's original time slot, the crowd was pumped and already tearing up the dance floor.

DancerSS made his entrance with his signature "SS is on the decks" track. Normally I do not like these grand entrances, especially when the MC is already announcing your arrival, but I really like that track. I am a sucker for female vocals and his opening track was heavily laced with them. It also made it a little easier to tolerate because MC Warren G has such a smooth voice he can make anything sound tight. SS proceeded to bring the crowd on a musical journey of dark melodic driving basslines that had the crowd in a frenzy. The break circle that had been established during Jeremy & Kia's set was overrun as everyone in the main room was moved. As I scanned the crowd I did not see one person standing still. I did see a few people standing in a daze just shaking their heads and pumping their fists in pure adoration and respect for this Drum and Bass pioneer DJ SS. The mood stayed constant at this intense level for the remainder of the evening as SS kept control of the bass-induced trance with a set that was masterfully mixed and jeweled with innovative dub plates. In addition to his expertise of the genre, showcased by his enormous track list numbering over 100, DJ SS was also just a down-to-earth guy. I saw him out in the crowd after his set taking personal "home videos" of the night and talking with different people from the crowd; all the while his big smile never left his face.

Next up was Twisted Individual, whom I have heard of but never seen live. This young man is like a walking Drum and Bass Prodigy, similar to Atlanta's local Mayhem. At the age of 19 he has already gained a strong reputation as a producer of some of the sickest and dirtiest flavors landing on the scene with a long list of top sellers. It was pretty interesting to watch as he sat patiently behind the decks for SS's entire set calmly awaiting his chance to let loose his selection of outstanding tracks and dub plates. When SS turned over the tables to TI, he dropped one of the deepest songs that I have heard. I do not know if it was a dub plate or a record but it was so full of layers and rich with different textures of sounds it had my heart pounding in a state of euphoria. I would have stopped to ask someone to ID it but my feet wouldn't stop moving. Despite the crowd starting to clear out midway through his set Twisted Individual did not let the energy level drop one notch from the explosive level that SS had established. Now, I am anxiously awaiting the release of the Twisted Individual Album set to be released soon.

Warren GMC Warren G has been MCing for nearly half of his life and has been involved in the DnB scene since the early days. MC GQ and himself have been called the "God Fathers" of the Voice of Drum and Bass, pioneering the now prevalent "Danger" and "Oh My Gosh." It is mind boggling to think that this man has been around long enough to hear a scene that was not overwhelmed with the "Oh My Gosh" ramblings. He has much more too offer than the normal crowd-pleasing rhymes. As I listened to the words that flowed so smoothly from his mouth he took me on a lyrical journey back to his hip hop and reggae roots. His message was deep much like a preacher...he was supporting the musical cleansing of our souls with the help of SS and Twisted Individual. Unfortunately, he did get caught up in the MC hype a few times with excessive calls for rewinds that gave the otherwise smooth night some rough edges. Reloads are the craze in the UK, having just seen Andy C in Colorado with MC GQ I know it was not just the Formation crew. In addition to Warren G's lyrical styles ATL got a treat with the vocal delights of Syrene (*sorry if the name is misspelled*). I have heard her around before and when her voice began to hum from the speakers I immediately ran to the front to watch her at work. Her voice was like an angel drifting softly over the hard beats that were being dropped and everyone loved her appearance.

ShadrauchThe downstairs had been remodeled since the last time I had been to The Church and I really liked the new set up, especially the DJ setup. The room offered a nice change of pace from the driving beats upstairs to more funky beats and a chill atmosphere. The room stayed pretty full throughout the night and it is no surprise because the music the locals was providing was tight — except for one trainwreck that was quickly fixed. I really enjoyed Shadrauch's track selection, which held my attention for quite a while until the bass from upstairs lured me back.

This night was a night that will not be soon forgotten. The talent was superb. The crowd was amazing, providing a unified vibe that heightened the music. The sound was powerful. And the dancing room was plentiful! Thank you IRIS!

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