Todmorden’s valley is small, and between its two bulging mounds of green, orange and brown, the Golden Lion pub sits pleasantly, vibrating. Tonight, for the second time this year, there will be bass, and plenty of it. Returning with his gloves off, for another round on the decks, is Grant Marshall, aka, Daddy G, from the pioneering Bristol trip-hop duo, Massive Attack.
The tickets have nearly sold out, some remain waiting on the door, and the lucky ones who got them in advance, are already warming up inside, waiting for his intimate DJ set, Reggae got Soul.
Outside the pub, its white ageing windowpanes are shaking, and in single file, bodies pass through the swinging doors wearing extra layers, hats, gloves and mittens. Once inside, they’re immediately torn off. Prior to Daddy G’s appearance, a collective of Chapter 4 DJ’s, including Todmorden’s very own DJ Nick Williamson, begin the proceedings with a glorious ensemble of the finest reggae tunes.
The sunshine beats of ska, rocksteady and dub blow dust from the shelves, and an ambient red light creates a mellow atmosphere inside. The occasion is getting closer, the temperature’s getting hotter, and people can feel the warmth.
The floor is filled to its brim and the people inside are very close, happily skanking and two-stepping collectively. Over the mic, the time finally arrives. “Big up the Yorkshire massive, it’s time for the daddy of them all!” A resting whippet opens its ears to the noise of cheers and clapping, and the smell of homegrown marijuana makes its nose twitch from side to side. In front of the decks, towers a new figure – Daddy G. With hat tilted forwards, the Bristol-born winner of the NME’s Godlike Genius Award gets to work immediately. The volume is cranked up another notch, and the beats are intensified with purpose. It’s loud. It’s very loud.
Through two nine-foot speakers, Daddy G’s warm and eclectic sounds transcend into his set. It’ll be this way until three o’clock in the morning. Handpicked tracks, selected from across the globe, mix cultures and Massive Attack influences together with experience and fluidity. The throbbing bassline, repeated over and over in ‘Karmacoma’, released on the album Protection, brings euphoria to the crowd and the dancing continues with added vigour. As the set concludes, the perfect comedown mood is set, and the night is tied up nicely with a reggae dubbed sample of the atmospheric anthem, ‘Teardrop’.
Tonight, both Daddy G and the Chapter 4 collective have brought warmth to the hearts of the locals inside the Golden Lion pub. Occasions don’t come much rarer, and as the pub doors close, the night spills outside and onto the road. As part of a collective who took over the world throughout the 1990’s, how lucky have we all just been to have seen Daddy G, up close and personal, in a small-town pub in Todmorden?