The arrival of Gary Clail at the On-U Sound stable brought with it the emergence of a previously undreamed raggamuffin tendency. Gary had come in from Bristol as an acquaintance of Mark Stewart, also zooming in on the West Country ley lines was poet and wordsmith Andy Fairley,
During the mid to late eighties Gary Clail became a regular warm-up for all types of On-U gigs – with his “On-U Sound in the Area!!!!” crowd calls This came both as a welcome relief for devotees of On-U Sound and also as an unexpected bonus. The relief was occasioned by Gary as DJ / MC / chanter / warm-up man as against the tedium of the in-house DJ who usually fumbled through an inappropriate set prior to the band, or worse still, and this was quite common at On-U gigs, some periods of meditative silence! The real impact of Gary was to introduce and roadtest new On-U rhythms and tunes, and also to re-version old favourites. As he usually lived in the studio when he was not on the road, Gary lifted X amount of cassettes of Sherwood mixes which otherwise would have been destined for an early tape wipe.
Gary’s actual appearance on TOTP, together with the wonderfully over the top Alan Pillay, when “Human Nature” became a number 10 UK chart position (by far the highest placing for an On-U act in its own right), albeit with the original Billy Graham sample removed after threat of legal action.
Over instrumental backdrops that alternate between reggae (courtesy of Dub Syndicate) and funk (courtesy of various members of Tackhead), Clail intones stentorian pronouncements on such topics as social justice (“Food Clothes andShelter”), domestic abuse (“The Emotional Hooligan”) and vegetarianism (“Beef”). And then there’s the music itself, which, coming as it does from Dub Syndicate and Tackhead, kicks major butt.
2012 sees Gary clail return to the music scene, with a number of sold out concerts, as well as the expectation of a new solo album, Nailed To The Mast, scheduled for a release in early 2013. Joined by Andy Chapman and Mani Montanna, Gary continues his hard-edged-dub political stance.
DR DUB – resident DJ of Adrian Sherwood’s club Shanty Town – is a long time ON.U Sound intimate. In a predecessor to the newly formed ON.U Sound Celebration he opened for Headfake Sound System (riddim section Living Colour) and Mark Stewart & the Maffia.
DR DUB remixed the likes of TACK>>HEAD (rmx included in their ltd ed ‘metal box’ release on Echo Beach), Keith LeBlanc, Little Axe, Doug Wimbish, Dr Das (of Asian Dub Foundation), Afro Celt Sound System and many, many more. Some of his releases are available for free download @ French electro dub netlabel Libre Comme L’Air (lclweb.org). He is the ON.U Sound main archive man and owns tons of unfinished and unreleased material, which will exclusively appear during the ON.U Sound Celebration shows.
Biography – Libby Lawes
Libby Lawes – ex super model, promoter in Milano, Thessaloniki and Mykonos and as an integral part of the Back2mono team, responsible for the main underground breaks scene across the midlands. Working alongside names such as Hybrid, Meat Katie, Rennie Pilgrem, Hyper and more who carried the breaks sound into the new century. Collaborated with Mikee Freedom (I wanna give you devotion) and hasrecently been delivering her unique style of live mixing of Hippypunk, Breaks, Progressive/House andAmbient and recently headlined the dance tent at ‘The Green Gathering 2013’ and ‘The GreenMan Festival’ and Combining the vibe of the old with the phat sound of the new. Libby continues to make the dance floors wiggle and stomp at clubs, bars and radio stations including Groove St., Fiddlers, H Bar, Bocabar, Firebreak sessions, Dark City radio, Northampton Roadmender, The lounge/embargo, The soundhaus, The regents club, Back2mono, Club Natural.