D/R/U/G/S & Delphic @ Village Underground
November 1st 2012
Attending any show where the support act has stylised themselves as a nondescript narcotic is usually an indicator of kitsch things to come. Callum Wright aka D/R/U/G/S has seamlessly made the shift away from backstreet music blogs. Advertised as being part of the new wave of DIY electro artists, there is a lot of intrigue concerning what is going to play through the speakers.
However, ten minutes into his set many of the crowd are still trying to figure out if he was the in-house DJ or not. Fortunately, Callum’s specific type of trippy psychedelic dance music interpreted by classical house beats is too pulsatingly tight to keep any audience at arm’s length – they begin to come in for a closer look. Absorbed by the onstage arm acrobatics that we now associate with most DJs: twisting knobs, flicking switches, pressing buttons – manipulating volume, faze and reverb – visually, he is completely locked in, unaware of the growing crowd at his feet. Even when the speakers unexpectedly cut which initiates tirades of outrage from the crowd to the sound guys, Callum shouts (by the way, this is the first and only interaction he makes with the crowd) ‘The music’s still going for me’, whilst pointing at his headphones and bopping and jiving. Considering house is characterised by rising and building motifs, all falling into each other, it is a nice surprise (even to the untrained ear) to be able to hear where a song starts and stops during a forty-five minute pause-free set, tinged with his own progressive stylisation. D/R/U/G/S comes off stage quicker than he had come on. The closing seconds were like hitting a large STOP button: END OF SET. Head bowed, without a word, he walks off.
Dressed in slim fit suits and trainers, without further ado, Delphic plug in and rock out. With a ten minute rendition of ‘Red Lights’ (faithfully accompanied by rays of red strobes: a round of applause to the lighting technician, please) it is only towards the breakdown at the end of the track where the dance/house crossover with D/R/U/G/S becomes glaringly obvious. Delphic are definitely a mixed bag – along with guitars layered with dance beats and driving rhythms, their live show is subtly infused with nods towards R&B, as the keyboardist whispers “Dance sumthin’, Move somethin'” in a fashion that would have made Snoop Dogg proud. Afterwards, during ‘Clarion Call’ they manage to arouse the crowd’s passions as both band and crowd scream “IT’S YOUR LIFE!” in mob-like unison – one can almost imagine the keyboardist waving a pitchfork whilst the audience follow in his wake with torches.