It was the most packed I had ever seen The Brickworks, the atmosphere inside was electric, and the strobe lighting was in full force, which could only mean that Dusky had finally arrived in Nottingham. Flying under the radar for much of their early career, the electronic duo have been enjoying much more radio play and success as of late and it’s not hard to see why. They play the kind of music that you tell yourself would be amazing live, a kind of atmospheric, celestial sound that mesmerizes you into a dream. Their second album ‘Outer’ was released late this September, however, fans were already familiar with big hits such as ‘Ingrid is a Hybrid’ and ‘Sort it out Sharon’ thanks to plays from Pete Tong and Annie Mac to name just two at this year’s festivals.
Last entry was 11pm but the headliners didn’t take to the decks until 1am, leaving support act Flat James to warm up the crowd. Flat James is a resident at The Brickworks who has also supported Ame and TEED this Autumn, so knew exactly how to keep the crowd moving. Mainly playing techno beats, his set began well, however this didn’t last long as a technical fault caused the laptop to shut down, completely cutting sound and visuals out briefly. This then happened a further two more times before he could properly continue his set. Although James bravely soldiered on, the sound system was not properly sorted for another fifteen minutes, meaning many were struggling to hear anything more than background noises. On top of this, it would appear that the strobe lighting was never fixed at all, as the only lights that were now appearing were behind the decks. However, this didn’t appear to dampen the mood of the crowd in the slightest, who were happy to dance away in the hopes that this would be rectified in time for the headliners to perform.
With the sound system finally producing a decent volume level again, the music drew to a close and the stage was cleared. All lights disappeared and people began rushing in from the bar, toilets and smoking area eager to see and hear the act they had been waiting to see enter the stage. After a minute or so, the familiar beginning notes of ‘Long Wait’ began to creep in and fill the entire building, receiving excited cheers and arms waving in appreciation. The eerie vocals reached and echoed into each corner of the room, as Dusky seamlessly blended their first track into the next. They were consistent with their sound, playing a couple of steady techno beats in between each of their own original tracks. Fans of the duo before they became Dusky, formerly known as Solarity, might have recognized some of their older tracks being played during these breaks in between, however it was really their new album that most excited the audience. Highlights of the show include ‘Skin Deep,’ ‘Songs of Phase’ and ‘Careless’ that were each met equally with a roar of delight and increasingly energetic dance moves. The graphics on the screen behind the decks displayed colourful, psychedelic patterns and animations, moving in time to the bass and evoking hypnotic feelings and mindless swaying from the audience. Mostly featuring techno and electronic beats, Dusky were able to effortlessly mix in acid house notes and a strong bass keeping the crowd captivated for their entire two hour set. As the time began to close in on 3am, I was left wondering if their defining track ‘Ingrid is a Hybrid’ would ever be played, I had expected it to be the last song but had they enough time? Sure enough, as the background notes of ‘Sort it out Sharon’ began to drown out I recognised the build-up of the song that had been a highlight of my summer. The audience had been waiting for this moment too, going wild as the room flooded with electricity. This for me was a highlight of the whole night, and made what may have been just a DJ set for some, a musical experience for others.
The night was an overall success, everyone had fun and most were satisfied with the music that was performed. While it could be pointed out that the sound volume was not up to scratch due to technical faults at the beginning and the full lighting effects that Dusky typically have in their shows were absent, most did not seem to care. When comparing the show to what I have seen from clips of other Dusky shows, it could have been improved. But if we are focusing on the atmosphere, music and fun that was had by all, then Saturday night was definitely a winner.