The House of Blues at Atlantic City’s Showboat Hotel and Casino was host this past Saturday to the 2012 North American Dubstep Music Awards (DMAs), a party that featured a three-room venue, a huge lineup of DJs, and a ground-shaking sound system. While the crowd was slightly diminutive for an event as audaciously titled as the Dubstep Music Awards, those in attendance got to see huge dubstep acts like Zeds Dead (pictured), Jakes, Mary Magdalan (whose track The Wicked Ones was used in the DMAs trailer below), and Downlink, to name a few.
The action kicked off at 3pm on Saturday and continued into the early hours of Sunday morning, giving dubstep fans an entire day of bass to enjoy. The venue featured three rooms of concurrent bass music, allowing those that paid the required admission to roam freely from room to room as they desired. Admittedly, all of the rooms were not created equal, but that didn’t stop the DJs from squeezing as much sound as possible out of the systems in the smaller rooms. The Music Hall’s mighty JBL Vertec sound system was the most impressive, and could be heard well outside of the room’s enclosure. Any gamblers that happened to pass through the area were welcomed by a sub-frequency onslaught being unleashed by the DJs spinning in the venue’s main room. The other two rooms, Club Worship and the Harlem Ballroom, were also pumping sublime bass wobbles all day long, but didn’t have the requisite wattage to shake the casino floor like the Music Hall’s JBL speaker arrays.
Starkey, who succeeded an impressive Joe Nice on the decks, had a monster set in the smaller Club Worship. The Philly native smashed it with his grime-laden flavor of dubstep, dropping a freshly manufactured track he just put together with grime MC Trim earlier in the week. At a certain point during his set it became apparent that he had complete mastery of bass music, delivering a gut-level sound of dubstep that is unmistakeably his, and his alone. KOAN Sound also put together a very unique set that was blithely different from any other act at the show. The two burgeoning talents collectively known as KOAN blended tracks that ranged from funky 2-steppers to bass-pressurized barrages visiting just about every genre that EDM has to offer.
Attendees that decided to camp out in the Music Hall got to see the always entertaining Jakes. Jakes had the audience in full participation, imploring the crowd to scream in a call-response manner. His entire set was a relentless serving of up-front stormers ranging from unreleased dubs to Circus staples. The audience certainly would have been content if his set continued for the rest of the night, but alas, in came Downlink and kept the energy bubbling over with his blend of dubstep, d’n’b, and drumstep. He opened his set with a heavyweight new tune that he made with Excision, and continued into tracks like the Skrillex remix of Avicii’s Levels and Hot Box by Mind Vortex. Quite a remarkable track selection by the British Columbian. Before the night came to an end, Zeds Dead took to the decks and gave the Music Hall’s sound amplifiers a workout of epic proportions. The duo dropped a shower of their own tunes, including their popular remix of Blue Foundation’s Eyes on Fire. There was no denying that the Zeds Dead army of fans in the audience were salivating at what the group would drop next–truly an epic showcase of crowd control by the ZD crew.
Final take: Aside from a few minor hiccups with the set times, the show provided an A-list set of DJs, all set the glamorous lights of the east coast’s city of sin, Atlantic City. Hopefully the DMAs will gain momentum and be around for a long time to come!