Skream & Benga
If you're looking to pinpoint that pivotal stretch where dubstep went from an offshoot subgenre of U.K. garage to its own force to be reckoned with, the list of essential 12-inch releases has to include 2003's "The Judgement." The collaborative A-side title track between Croydon cohorts Skream and Benga hit at crucial formative moments for the producers and the scene alike, and it still kills—all ghostly wails, growling liquid-rubber basslines, and a two-step backbone that toes the line between tense spaciousness and spine-rattling momentum. Both producers went on to continued success from there, tweaking their styles to fit the broadening parameters of the genre. Skream transitioned smoothly from the rudeboy swagger of his full-length 2006 debut to 2010's pop move-slash-'91 jungle throwback Outside the Box, with a grip of choice singles and fanbase-stoking freebie Skreamizm compilations pointing the way. Benga continued to refine his throttle-open heaviness through 2006's Newstep, then pushed it to the point of tightly wound, borderline-IDM brilliance on '08's Diary of an Afro Warrior. And when they finally got back to teaming up, they brought in cohort Artwork to form Magnetic Man, a certified supergroup whose eponymous 2010 album pulled off the rare dance-music feat of crossover without compromise (and helped break the fantastic Katy B in the process). Now that the idea of dubstep has been blown up into something bigger and more bombastic than anyone in 2003 could've imagined, this would be the ideal show to find out just where it all came from—and where it's all headed, too. 18+. (Photo by Mike Reger)
Sun., April 1, 8:30 p.m., 2012
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