Wednesday, March 10, 2004

My review of the UNKLE gig for a friend:

It was definitely an unusual set (one hour live set and one hour of DJing on either side of the live set) and so not what I expected. It wasn't what I wanted either (if you had asked me beforehand what I wanted them to play) but it was what I - and everyone else in the whole room - needed. And that, in my book, makes it one of the best sets that I've ever been to.

Velvet was packed. And the queue stretched all the way to Copthorne hotel, showing just how popular the event was - and on a Wednesday night too! Granted, it was free, but still... it was very surprising to say the least. My invitation said that the event was to begin from 10 pm onwards, so I was inside before 10, and managed to get a seat. I had to wait until 11 before UNKLE came on though. The first hour was very mellow, very chill-out, so I was a little disappointed because I was itching to do some dancing - plus I was eagerly awaiting them to play In A State, since I really do like that tune. I had expected them to play a live set, not a DJ set so I was like, oh well...

But man, the second hour (and the live set) kicked off to the sound of blaring sirens and flashing red lights... and lo and behold, UNKLE launched into some really heavy rock tunes and the crowd went mad, jumping up and there and head-banging. It was just like being at a mosh pit in a Brit rock concert in London. It was fantastically insane... and completely unexpected. I mean, Brit rock-like tunes in Velvet?

The next two hours went all over the place musically - from rock to progressive to trip hop back to rock and then to house to classical and so on. It was a really eclectic mix of tunes and yet, the changing from genre to genre was really smooth. Nothing sounded out of place. Their skill in mixing was evident, as was their ability to manipulate the mood of the crowd. Granted, there were low points in their set when stuff started to sound boring but these, thankfully, didn't last for too long.

The finale for UNKLE's set wasn't bad. If I recall correctly, the last four tunes were: Born Slippy - vocals with piano accompaniment (definitely not a mix that I'm familiar with), Cowgirl, In A State and Clocks (again, another mix that I haven't heard). It was a great end to an unexpectedly uplifting and energising night of incredible musical entertainment.

On the live set front, I recognised two or three of their own tunes, but I can't recall the name right now. I'll have to go home and check it out. They played In A State three times!!! Twice in full (the fourth song in the second hour and then the penultimate tune at the end of their three hour set) and once more in the middle (the instrumental version). I was wavering between being sick of it the third time they played it but decided to go with just going mad for the third time in a row.

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