Featuring Dieselboy (who initiated the Planet of the Drums tour in 2001), AK1200, Dara, and J-Messinian, the tour began as a vehicle to consolidate talent and generate a focused interest in the genre here in the States. Dieselboy (AKA Damian Higgins) came up as a DJ/producer in Pittsburgh in the mid-'90s, originally playing techno and breaks but eventually moving up to become "the most in-demand American drum 'n' bass DJ," selling more records than any other U.S. electronic artist in 2000.
AK1200 got his start in the Florida hardcore breakbeat scene in the late '80s, alongside future large-venue shakers like DJ Icey. He eventually went on to do remixes by Rabbit in the Moon, the Crystal Method, and A Tribe Called Quest, and he's become a staple in the post-rave all-ages circuit.
Dara, who originally hails from Ireland, got his start in the mid-'90s, DJing and hosting his own web-TV show, Velocity, where he interviewed jungle's leading artists, eventually working side by side with them.
It was almost inevitable that these three--along with drum 'n' bass toaster J-Messinian--would formally collaborate to help give a much-needed boost to drum 'n' bass' impact on the electronica scene here and abroad. This crew has a harder-edged new-school approach--as opposed to the more jazz-inflected arrangements of, say, LTJ Bukem and Grooverider's work in the early '90s.
In its mission statement, the group collectively states, "Our music has languished in small back rooms on undersized sound rigs for too long. We are taking a stand--'enough is enough.'" (I think what they mean here is that if you are a true drum 'n' bass soldier, you better represent.)
This show promises to be a great way to check out some seasoned talent--whether you just want to take a fortified peek at what's going on in drum 'n' bass these days or whether you've been a hardcore fan since day one. NICOLAE WHITE
Planet of the Drums Tour w/Dieselboy, Dara, AK1200, and J-Messinian, Thurs July 31 at Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 9 pm-2 am, 21+, $15.