Friday 6th September
The Picture House, Edinburgh
JG Wilkes (Optimo)
Celebrating their 5th year, The Picture House, a cavernous live music venue of old, complete with balcony, have been putting on some of the biggests acts to make the trip to Edinburgh. To help curate the evening, The Picture House enlisted the promotion prowess of multi genre booking juggernaut - Musika. An unstoppable force in the Edinburgh club scene, have in turn, drafted in A-list electro duo, 2manydjs to really kick start the celebrations.
Arriving at The Picture House around midnight, the place was already packed out. With the dancefloor already getting some serious attention from the crowds, I made my way forward to get a bit more of the dance floor experience. Having missed sets from Musika resident Jamie McKenzie and Count Clockwork, I wasted no time in checking things out. With one half of Optimo, JG Wilkes, throwing down plenty of analog beats and square wave sounds, there was a distinct old skool sound to his set. Playing purely vinyl, it didnt take him long to go from club warmer to club banger. With the unmistakable piano chords of Bizarre Inc. - Playing with Knives ringing out, it was time to turn the heat up on an already sweltering Picture House. Carl Craig's stand out re-rub of Tom Trago's Use me Again kept the crowd bouncing. Playing vinyl at such a high level is not with out its pitfalls and slight differences in each record can turn the slightest of touches into a monumental tempo change. This seemed to hamper a small section, of what, otherwise was a solid set from J G Wilkes. With Wilkes' set peppered with forgotten gems such as Outlander - The Vamp otherwise, it seemed, at times, he was simply going through the motions, as he rarely seemed to engage the crowd. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, instead choosing to concentrate on the job at hand.
Massive screens flashing up images of radio soul wax, brought whoops from the crowd with the imminent arrival of the main act. As the lights dimmed and sporting their trademark shirt and tie combo the Dawaele Brothers brought the room to a stand still with their intro featuring Fatboy Slim.
2manydjs wasted no time at all in ramping up the energy levels and the volume. From the very start the boys from Belguim meant business and Supermodels from Paris riotous Keep On and classic Angello acid work out Teasing Mr Charlie were early indicators this was not going to be a quiet affair. But it wasn't electro-techno all the way. With the brothers Soulwax alter ego favouring a more rock ethos, Frankie goes to Hollywoods seminal Relax and Hot Chip's amazingly quirky Over and Over really helped to change things up a bit.
However, it was their timeless Soulwax reworking of Kids that really hit the spot. From the very first bars of that unmistakable synth riff there were bodies flying everywhere. The energy and programming of the mixes were excellent through out but unfortunately there was no sign of their famous live mashups that they're famous for. Although the brothers were using all 4 decks at their disposal in series there was seldom use of all four decks at once.
I opted earlier on in the evening to grab a lofted viewing point in the balcony so I could watch the night unfold. I found that it was great for watching the djs and relaxing instead of enduring the throng below, but at serious cost to sound quality. All the sound was coming from stacks at the front of the stage and although great for a live gig or band, there was some degradation of sound. Most notably when 2manydjs were in the process of building up drops, the resulting high frequencies were almost unbearable.
To be fair to the venue however, this part of the club is more for taking time out and having a breather rather than spend the whole night in. Over all I had a great time, the djs were on point and the crowd responded emphatically. And judging from 2manydjs Facebook post the following day, with a picture of the packed out crowd everybody else there had a blast and got exactly what they came for.
Review by Stu Todd
Images courtesy of Musika