As a warm-up for their set at Get Loaded In The Park, Soulwax, Belgium’s purveyors of remixes and dance-rock crossover took to the stage in the edgily shabby Electrowerkz, not to DJ but to play as a four-piece live band.
This MySpace secret show pulled out the stops in terms of atmosphere, running from commemorative t-shirts to branded glosticks. The surroundings, more Berlin leather bar than fashionista haunt of N1, set the scene nicely.
It all began with a screening of the documentary homage Part Of The Weekend Never Dies, in which luminaries and friends from James Murphy to James Righton sang the praises of David and Stephen Dewaele, the footage cut with snippets of live shows and toilet interviews with fans. Upstairs a little later, Riton spun some tunes by way of warm-up.
And then, at near half-ten, on came Soulwax. Dapperly dressed like casino extras from a Bond movie, their bow ties and white dinner jackets called nothing to mind more than ’80s era Duran Duran – all that was lacking was a yacht and some Brut. Instead they numbered four, with a live drummer (cowbell prominently positioned) and additional guitarist beefing up the electro proposition.
A couple of cuts from Most Of The Remixes, Soulwax’s 2007 compilation, were slotted in. LCD Soundsystem‘s Get Innocuous was sped up and, sans Murphy’s vocals, revealed itself as a song in its own right. Klaxons‘ Gravity’s Rainbow followed, and it wasn’t long before stage diving was the order of the day, despite the perilously low ceiling.
Anyone pining for more of the familiar remixes needed only to hang around for Soulwax’s reincarnation at the end of the evening as 2ManyDJs; The Gossip‘s Standing In The Way Of Control predictably caused a mass waving of glosticks and some passionate interpretations of Beth Ditto’s vocals from some in the audience.
This set had started rather unpredictably; at least 40 dancers had ascended the precipitous lip of the stage to throw shapes right in front of the DJ booth. Security staff only seemed to notice the invasion a few minutes later, shoving everyone back the way they came. Amazingly no wires, lights or dancing divas came to grief.
A free and atmospheric evening was thus lived; and as Soulwax shift up a gear from sought-after remix outfit to cultural institution, it was difficult to ask for more.