Live Review

Soulwax + 2 Many DJs, Sant Jordi Club, Barcelona

It’s 5am. Do you know where your children are?

Belgium. Waffles. Tintin. Shit coffee. Great beer. Pounding pounding techno music? You wouldn’t have thought so back in the late nineties when the indie Wheel Of Fortune alighted on the Lowlands. dEUS were on Chris Evans, Zita Swoon enraptured the musos, and Soulwax had natty pink bootcut suits and covered Prince. Ten years on, and it seems that everybody does want to be the DJ. At least, Stephen and David Dewaele do, judging by what has become the main attraction.

It’s probably just as well part of the weekend never dies, as a Thursday night is far from ideal for this late night rave up. While Madrid gets the pleasure of a Friday festival, Barcelona got the short straw and a lot of lost man hours the next day. Taking the stage in their first guise as Soulwax, they look every inch the uber cool European purveyors of dance floor indie, suavely attired in grey suits and black bow ties. What first strikes you is the rather awesome nature of their light show, something that looks like it could be put to good use helping aircraft land in thick fog. Second, a distinct lack of instruments of the traditional kind. Yup, there was a bass guitar somewhere at the back, but a lot more weird mikes, black boxes, cables and synths. What follows is one long medley, with drums which never stop, consisting of a few new tunes (I think) and most of ‘Any Minute Now’, the ‘Nite Versions’ versions, ramped up to 11, turning the hanger-like space into one huge dancefloor. ‘E-talking’ is immense, as is ‘Miserable Girl’ and ‘KracK’. ‘NY Lipps’ even segues into a quick mix of ‘Funky Town’, as if just showing off their range and mastery, before they wheel out a couple of minutes of their own remix of ‘Hand To Phone’ by Adult, complete with the aforementioned refrain of ‘pounding pounding techo music’. The sound and lighting are simply unbelievable, showing that they’re definitely in with the big boys now. The Dewaele’s clearly have a brilliant understanding of the ebbs and flows of the dancefloor, when to bring songs, and the crowd, to a climax, and when to draw the tension out a little longer. It’s just a shame that they’ve lost some of the playfulness that gave us the likes of ‘Pop Life’, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Good?’ and ‘My Cruel Joke’ earlier in their career. It seems gone forever is the indie rock about everybody wanting to be the DJ – now they are the DJ’s.

Speaking of which, after a brief interlude of Tiga (as I said, in with the big boys), the Dewaele’s are back, rolled on stage in what can only be described as the front half of a 1970’s wooden powerboat, which doubles as their mixing desk. Together with a huge, LED screen hastily erected behind them, the stage set manages to top even their earlier efforts, and they loop a custom set of animated visuals which riff on the cover art of the particular track currently being subjected to their alchemy – all incredibly cleverly done. Highlights include a slowed down and sparse version of LCD’s ‘You Wanted A Hit’, some ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer, a few Mr. Oizo numbers and the by now ubiquitous ‘Kids’ and ‘Blue Monday’ by, well, you know who.

The spectacle proves that although no longer a band for the indie kids, but for the ravers and pill poppers, the fact they’ve made the transition look effortless is to their credit. Whilst many in the indie fraternity are happy to take the easy money (and publicity) of DJ sessions, which entails nothing more than them playing a few of their favourite tunes on a MacBook whilst drinking free vodka, these guys took it upon themselves to do something interesting and inspiring with their deck time – bear in mind they predate the likes of Girl Talk and Justice by several years. They may be the original and still the best, but it is slightly ironic that having once claimed there were too many DJ’s, they’ve worked so hard to align themselves with that particular group.

Photo Credit: Melanie Manneville

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY