For those who are dub challenged, the layman’s definition describes dub music as a bass-heavy version of reggae, with instrumentals laden with echo and reverb. Such a classification is far too narrow for Twilight Circus, who vastly expand the scope of the genre. Twilight Circus albums are recorded live, vinyl is pressed in Austria and live shows are presented DJ-style courtesy of Ryan Moore. Based out of the Netherlands, Moore’s Twilight Circus is currently on a North American tour culminating in Los Angeles, where he opens up for George Clinton. Moore most likely considers this upcoming performance on March 14 at the Dub Club in LA as somewhat akin to the Holy Grail.
After a Ferris Bueller-style jeep race to catch the 5:00pm Schwartz Bay ferry, we finally arrived at the Fulford Inn at approximately 8:00p.m. to find Moore tending to the musical apparatus (including some turntables to die for). After greeting the Dub Messiah the proceedings turned to Salt Spring Pale Ale and homemade Buffalo Jerky (had to eat something on the ferry).
Moore started the show shortly thereafter and didn’t let up until a little after 1:00am. Crediting such influences as John Henry Bonham, Carol Kaye and Sir Paul, Moore’s performance was an inspiring sonic assault. Consider his latest release, Rasta International, which was partially recorded at the Mecca of recording studios, namely Tuff Gong studios in Kingston, Jamaica. An apt snapshot of what lurks within that album could be heard on “Stand Up & Fight”, as Moore’s bass roved like a phantom, dropping out at times (except you’re not entirely sure if it does) only to come back unexpectedly with renewed force. Both live and on record, Moore’s dynamic approach embraces intuition, tempered with a cautionary view of new technology. For Moore, flexibility is a valued good, and the quality of the song and musical ideas are paramount.
As for the audience response, Moore single-handedly transformed the sleepy Fulford Inn into a hotbed of freaks from all demographics, brimming at full capacity. Internationalism at its finest. Move over Bono, move over Kofi, and make way for a true internationalist with “dub teeth”. While our existence is rife with uncertainty, one can always be certain of an eventual death, high taxes and, after watching Twilight Dub Circus, Moore’s unconditional mastery of the dub genre.