Asian Dub Foundation: The Anvil, Basingstoke – live review

Asian Dub Foundation

Asian Dub Foundation

The Anvil, Basingstoke

24th October 2015

Asian Dub Foundation performing their incredible THX 1138 set is really one of the most memorable and chilling experiences ever felt.

Any one of these components: seeing a live performance against a stellar film, seeing Asian Dub Foundation or watching THX 1138, is wonderful. Combined, it’s thrilling.

The fear and loneliness that the film instils is hugely amplified when you share this experience with a room full of eager humans. The thoughts and emotions, thanks to the exhilarating ADF, are inescapable. Steve Chandra Savale isn’t just commanding sounds against moving image, he commands every person witnessing.

The energy of flautist Nathan Lee is fascinating. A really magnetising charisma emerges as he performs, inducing both panicked breathing and soothing melody at any time. No strangers to the format, ADF show they’re seasoned but still exuberantly excited by the process.

The existential haunting of THX 1138 isn’t simply a harrowing tale of an unforeseeable future, it serves as a warning and metaphor for our existence now. ADF are known for being anti capitalist, anti state rhetoric, richly bound by their incredibly dynamic and unique sound. Steve tells us that their messages are totally natural, merely mirroring the personal values within their art, as opposed to any agenda. Forcing any kind of message through the medium of art would therefore be insincere, and restricting of the art itself. This value of artistic expression seems to manifest perfectly against the THX 1138 world where desire, emotion and art are outlawed.

The relevance of independent thought in our world where dissent is persecuted, where a war on the working class ensues, is more vital than ever. An excellent project worth checking out is Music of Resistance, produced by Steve with Al Jazeera, noting how globally music could be the pinnacle of dissent and communication.

This is an experience not to be missed or ignored. No matter what you think you know about ADF, this performance will serve as an experience that you’ll struggle to match in such an intimate and unique form.


 The Asian Dub Foundation website is here: They can be followed on Twitter as @ADFofficial and liked on Facebook.

All words by Leema Sadia. More writing by Leema on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. You can find her on twitter as @MaceWindude.

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