Big Toe’s Hi-fi Meets...
Big Toe’s Hi-fi Meets Messenger Soundsystem
College of Art, Edinburgh, Fri 13 Apr
Following the soundsystem summit this time last year between Wee Red Bar residents Big Toe’s Hi-Fi and leading Glasgow practitioners Mungo’s, this spring sees the Big Toe folks invite Messenger Soundsystem, Edinburgh’s other big reggae club, to leave their home at the Bongo for a one-off head-to-head in ECA’s mural room. It’s a fundraiser for post-grad students, as well as - we’re sure you’ll agree - a mustn’t-miss night for fans of dub and dancehall.
‘I’ve been going to Messenger since I came to Scotland four years ago,’ says Big Toe’s John Farrugia, ‘and I’m well aware of the sound and the authenticity that they have. It’s a very roots and culture-based system, very genuine, and they have a good operation going after doing it here for 20 years.’
As an artist himself, Farrugia is well aware of the benefits of collaboration. ‘I think it’s just in my nature that I like interacting with people, especially when it comes to reggae. It’s a soundsystem culture, you don’t use just a single DJ, that collective aspect is something that really struck me in the six or seven years I’ve been doing this.’
He’s hesitant, however, to describe this event as any sort of soundclash. ‘Scotland isn’t like London,’ he notes, ‘where there are dozens of soundsystems, although the ones we do have each do very well. So what we miss out on is the way soundsystems face off, not in an aggressive sense, but just as an opportunity to offer each of their own crowds two very different sounds.’