Mondays get a bad rap. They're certainly never featured atop anyone's 'favorite day of the week' list. For most of us, Monday mornings are nothing more than reminders that the weekend does not, in fact, last forever-no matter what sort of organ-embalming liquids we stuff in our bodies Friday and Saturday.
At Bar Dynamite, however, Mondays are a gas. They're a night for people to join together and 'vibe out' to a genre of music that appeals to all but the most high-strung music lover. On Monday nights, it's time for 'Dub Dynamite.'
One of the first things you notice at Dub Dynamite is the wide range of people who drop in: From rasta guys to hipsters, PB surfers to downtown professionals. Dreadlocks and geometrical coifs. Trucker hats and hair-product. According to Beau Lamontagne, one of the two DJs responsible for Dub Dynamite, the wide range of fans is a result of the region-our per capita dubness.
'The great thing about San Diego and Southern California,' he says, 'is that the average person knows more about reggae-who Barrington Levy is, for example. The local knowledge of reggae is a lot higher.'
Self-described as spinning 'all the best in dub and roots from the '70s to the 21st century,' DJs Rashi (aka Lionel Judah) and Eddie Turbo (Lamontagne) have been dropping deep bass cuts inside Bar Dynamite since late 2003. The dance floor during the first few hours of 'Dub' is almost always deserted, save for a disco ball that reflects blue and green specs of light into Bar D's trademark dim red ambiance. A few random bodies can be found dotting the booths at the perimeter of the venue or saddled up to the bar, sipping Red Stripe Lagers and bobbing their heads.
Every week, though-almost as if the event had been planned to happen this way-the magic hour comes. The trickle of about 10 or 15 people turns into a light flood of 50 to 80 bodies, all moving on the absolutely tiny dance floor that essentially takes up the entire intimate venue. According to Lamontagne, this 'tipping point' usually happens between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. and sets the tone for the rest of his DJ set.
'Whatever song we're playing when it goes off,' he says, 'you're like, ‘Okay, this is what they want.''
For Rashi and Eddie Turbo, creating the best Dub night goes beyond the hits. They mix in early and new-school dub-from King Tubby to Scientist to Thievery Corporation and Jah Batta. To this, Rashi adds cuts from his extensive library of traditional reggae.
'You'll see a rasta man natty dread guy vibing out to some new school Groove Corporation, and he doesn't know it, but it's got the soul and it works,' Lamontagne explains. 'Then you'll see a frat boy vibing out to some obscure older track. That's nice. That's the connection we're making.'
They've succeeded for four years and not been banished to lesser confines because they do a damn fine job of making the crowd lose themselves. It's one of the few reggae nights in town where the whole club shows a deep connection to the music.
'The fact that we're staying true to the reggae sincerity-the love for it, not the cheesy glorifying of it-will [pull in] anyone who is into reggae,' Lamontagne says. 'Purists, someone right off the boat from Jamaica, some England hipster telling us how it is-anyone.
'I like it because with us the stakes aren't high. It's not like this mentality that it's got to be going off the whole time. We're just having a random, fun dance party.'
On Monday nights. Grueling, otherwise boring, Monday nights.
Dub Dynamite happens every Monday at Bar Dynamite. 1808 W. Washington St., Mission Hills. 619-295-8743.
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