Support Local Journalism. Donate to Cleveland Scene.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Jamaica's Sound System Culture is Coming to Cleveland This Summer

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 10:40 AM

click to enlarge The Steel Yard Sound System in action. - ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • The Steel Yard Sound System in action.
The lineage of today's chart-topping hip-hop and, earlier, the international reggae scene can be traced back to the sound system culture that blossomed in Jamaica during the 1950s, 60s and 70s and soon spawned in cities across the world. The main idea was to gather thousands of people in the streets of Kingston's ghettos or, more commonly, a derelict warehouse and literally surround them with sound. In the middle of the party: a massive, multi-tiered sound system that blared head-throbbing dub, ska and, later, electronic music.

Picture a deep dance party, featuring multiple DJs and trippy lighting rigs; it's the forebear of modern festival culture in the U.S.

"We are doing our part to bring this culture to Cleveland's music scene," Steel Yard Sound System's Tim Smith says. Steel Yard is teeing up slate of monthly sound system parties on the westside, and we got a taste of it this past weekend. "All over the world this culture is growing faster than it ever has before with sound systems being built from Tokyo to Brazil, Glasgow to San Diego. Cleveland has a long history with reggae music and with the current growth the city is seeing on the backs of arts and culture, this is another cultural element that we want to see grow in our hometown."



In an expansive warehouse on West 65th (with room to grow and an outdoor patio/roof-type situation), Steel Yard set up its House of Joy and invited a few dozen friends to come check out it. When Scene arrived, the whole evening was in action; lights floated across broad concrete walls, and the sound system beckoned with liquid bass notes like a stoic god in the middle of the room. A small group danced feverishly right up against the system, ensconced completely in the music.

Jacob Bennett was spinning while we were there, and he delivered some crisp, deep EDM with dashes of dub rhythm. The evening's full slate included DJs from around the region.

The real party begins with an official launch on June 17 at the warehouse. Check out facebook.com/steelyardsoundsystem for details and tickets. Early birds are $15, but they'll jump to $25 in no time. DJs from Cleveland, Columbus, Los Angeles and New Orleans will be on hand for that party. (NOLA's Werd2jaH hosts the show.)

Smith told us that the plan is to grow the monthly parties into adjacent warehouse space and to hold cookouts in the outdoor area. With summer upon us, we can't think of a more quintessential event for a town in love with good music.

He passed along this documentary, too, which makes for some really cool musical culture education:


Tags: , , , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Scene Magazine has been keeping Cleveland informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources, especially as we all deal with the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. Almost everything Scene is about -- our stories, our events, our advertisers -- comes down to getting together. With events on hold, and no print distribution for the foreseeable future, every little bit helps.

A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Scene. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation