Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shackleton live at Block Club (with Nee, Nasty Habit, Vermont, Skillaton)

This was a fantastic party, actually miles better than I was expecting, thanks to killer dubstep and techno sets by the support DJ's and a slick 70-minute live set from Shackleton. My opinion may put me in the minority though.

On a more objective, numbers-based scale, the party peaked about 30 minutes before Shackleton appeared. After serenading the people filing into the venue with some quality dubstep (and even managing to get a few people dancing), another opening DJ takes over with a set of mostly dub techno that loosens up the mood even more and leads into the party's peak (which may have happened precisely during Plastikman's "Spastik").

After that, things took a turn for the strange. Shackleton took over and the mood in the room immediately quieted down. Suddenly, it was as if there were 25% fewer people in the club. Many of those who were there seemed confused as to how to dance to this music. It doesn't kick like most dubstep, you can't really rely on the jittery percussive beats to guide you through the songs, you have to follow the spidery basslines. It skips along at a fairly wicked pace, but dancing to this music is effortless compares to most other types of music with this BPM. It was as if 80% of the people who attended had no idea what to expect. Why did they pay money to come inside? Was I missing an even better party somewhere else in the city? Even for the uninitiated, Shackleton's music isn't *that* challenging. For what it's worth, there weren't many people drinking at this party either. When he finished his set, at the fairly early hour of 3:30, the party was pretty much wrapped up (an absurdly early time by the city's usual standards). There was another DJ, but this party had gone to sleep by 4:00.

But if you confined yourself to a bubble of dedicated partygoers near the DJ booth, as a way of shutting out the subdued atmosphere that cast a shadow over most corners of the club, the quality of music you would have heard was simply not to be messed with.

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