David Rodigan Impresses At Exeter's Phoenix

by Sam Watson

Photo Credit: Le MadBlog

David Rodigan shouldn’t really be called a DJ – instead he’s a reggae encyclopaedia, a dancehall wizard or a musical genius. In the hour and a half set he played he must have been behind the decks for a total of about 10 minutes. He spent the majority of the time dancing around the front of the stage, either singing along or shouting various phrases at the crowd in a sort of weird karaoke style performance. When he wasn’t doing that he was high-fiving members of the audience, shouting about how “the best ganja is from the south west”, to “put your lighters up if you think weed should be legal,” or blasting one of his catchphrases at us - whether it be to “puuull up” or to “give him some signal”. He also kept showing the crowd an iPhone with the word ‘Exeter’ flashing on it – it was genuinely surreal, reminiscent of a weird uncle who had drunk too much and been allowed on the decks at a distant family members wedding. This being said, I loved it, as did everyone else. The man is genuinely one of the best entertainers I have ever seen. Even the Queen seems to agree, as shown by Rodigan’s MBE. To say the man knows music is an understatement; he knows more about dancehall and reggae music than I think I will ever know about anything. Not only does he know about it, he loves it! He must have played ‘ting-a-ling’ by Shabba Ranks at every gig he has done since that song came out (and it’s 24 years old), yet he still runs about the stage doing his thing and absolutely loving it. The man could be, and should be, a teacher, as his passion for his chosen subject is just infectious.

The gig was supposed to be at the Lemon Grove but I think that everyone involved was glad it moved. In my opinion, the promoters had made tickets too expensive for students. The Phoenix was a better fit for Rodigan as well, giving him a much bigger stage to run around and just generally suiting him more. In terms of the “Ram Jam” tour, I think that Exeter had the weakest line up, considering we were given Matt Jam Lamont whilst Southampton had JME, Preditah and My Nu Leng. We also had the most expensive ticket price (£15 in Exeter compared to £8 in Southampton), so it seems like we got slightly ripped off. The target audience for these shows may have had something to do with this however, with the average age being about 40, so maybe Matt Jam Lamont (a fairly old and uninspiring garage DJ from way back when) was a more appropriate support act. Rodigan also catered his set for this - instead of playing his usual selection of fast paced reggae, dancehall classics and a load of huge Jamaican inspired hits, he played a set of 75 BPM slow reggae tracks - “Jamaican drum and bass” as he called it.

I’ve mainly discussed the negative aspects of the night, including ticket price and quality of line up (taking into account the other line ups and prices on this run of Ram Jam dates). Yet overall it was great; Rodigan is a man at the top of his game, who has been the best in the business for quite some time and shows no signs of slowing down. Both young and older people love him, he injects a passion into every record he spins and you can’t help but have a good time when he is on the decks (or rather in front of them), as he is genuinely enjoying every minute.