Saturday @ Perry’s: Skream and Benga, Sgt Pokes

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The crowd at Perry’s stage grew steadily as festivalgoers filtered back into Grant Park after thunderstorms earlier Saturday. With the encouragement of the dreadlocked MC Sgt Pokes, fans gleefully ran, danced and slid through the muddy field at Perry’s, grateful that the storms hadn’t canceled the show entirely. The energetic MC was only occasionally shown on the LED screens to the side of the stage, a problem common to many of the acts at Perry’s.

It may appear as though there is some kind of musical arms race occurring within the world of dubstep: producers are adding ever increasing amounts of distortion and grunge to the wobbling baselines the genre is famous for. Skream and Benga‘s productions are usually more soulful and moody than then the in-your-face style of their American peers, but their set on Saturday was harder-edged than any of the albums the pair has released so far. As the lineup at Perry’s demonstrated, there are already more than enough producers specializing in face-melting bass, and it would be a loss for dance music if the pair chooses to abandon their more melodic roots.

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