Every year the south bank in London runs a mini festival called Meltdown with the art and music lineups chosen by a selected musician. In previous years the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Massive Attack, and James Lavelle have all compered it. For 2017 they went with MIA and whilst a lot of the acts chosen didn't click, when Soulwax was announced I had to be there.
Support came from a strange but compelling pairing of Bolis Popul, the gold-faced guy on keyboards and Charlotte Adigery on vocals. They were actually pretty good for a warm up. I think they're signed to DeeWee, the record label of Soulwax.
Soulwax then came on with a single drummer at the back, two backing musicians in the centre and the brothers at the front. Part way through the intro track the sides opened up to unveil two more drummers. Now a band having two drummers is a band I'm probably going to like, so to see Soulwax go one better was a "wow" moment....and they were superb competing against each other and then deconstructing single drum patterns across the three players.
The lighting was superbly synchronised to the music. It's almost as if the lighting guy was the 8th band member.
Whilst it petered out a little bit in the middle the boys know how to work a crowd. As 2ManyDJs they know how to take an audience along on a ride with peaks and troughs perfectly placed to work the crowd, and for the most part they did the same here.
I thought Leftfield was so good it would have been the gig of the year but this bettered it. The set up was great, being in a venue where classical music is played the acoustics were perfect and being a sit-down venue when everyone stood up we all had a little bit of floor to call our own and nobody pushed their way past for the front.
and I get to see them again next month at Blue Dot. I can't wait!