Thursday, 12 May 2011
To open the Great Escape festival, DJ Shadow brought his Shadowsphere for some top trip hop sounds and AV delights. We arrived just after the doors opened expecting an early show but were treated to two very good support acts. No idea who the first act was but he did manage to whoop up the small crowd with his guitar and sampler set.
I was a virgin before hearing him but for a first time Beardyman broke me in good and sore for more. I knew he was talented but his range of beatboxing and bang-on accurate rap impressions were excellent. He had such stage presence and confidence that you couldn't help but smile and laugh at his mouth-making beats. There was no mention of McVities though though he'd probably never buy a packet of biscuits again! Personal highlight was his rendition of Daft Punk's Around the World.
The Shadow appears
All throughout the support acts there was a sphere structure on stage but no mixing table for the Shadow. After Beardyman's equipment was cleared off, DJ Shadow came out with a huge applause saying his last performance in Brighton was ten years ago. He went into his sphere and the audio-visual spectacle began starting with some familiar older classics. I tried taking some video but the Dome's soundsystem has most cleanest, most powerful bassbins ever cancelling out almost all the music from the recordings. What we did witness was the clever use of projectors making the sphere into planets, sports balls, ballbearings, eyeballs etc., etc. even the Death Star which got a huge cheer. Only DJ Shadow's hand appeared out of the top of the sphere to make sure the crowd knew he was playing live.
Later the sphere rotated to reveal the DJ and he introduced his new material. It was good to see him perform live though his new EP stuff was a little hit-and-miss which still pleased the crowd but maybe out of politeness or just thankful that he was here in Brighton at all.
A few more classics mixed in with his newer (Outsider) hip hop stuff still whipped up a cheer storm and then a 15-20 minute encore. At the end, we concluded it was one of the Top 5 gigs ever!
DJ Shadow Highlight Reel from Tribeca Flashpoint on Vimeo.