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Review: Nina Kraviz, Radio Slave and Luciano at Ushuaïa

The sparkling outdoor venue does it again...

By Jordan Smith

It had only been a week since my last Ushuaïa visit, but it was the huge gravitational pull of Nina Kraviz (strangely disproportionate to her size) which had me back for another fix of Luciano and Friends Thursdays at the suave hotel.

Kraviz was smooth and understated to begin with, the perfect sound-waves to accompany the setting sun sink around the curve of the stage behind her. She was playing on her beloved vinyl, which always makes for interesting watching. I believe it’s more inclusive when an audience can actually see physical evidence of the song selection and mixing process and I found it a pleasure to watch Kraviz work.

This was a casually timed set – Kraviz seemed in no rush to start “killing it” and even the individual mixes were long processes. This worked excellently and gave her complete control over the crowd. The set really kicked into life around the halfway mark and Kraviz broke out of her trademark pout to sing along and dance around, visibly enjoying herself. The girl’s got stage presence, and in every aspect of her set brought something tangible to an industry which increasingly exists in a digital black hole.

Radio Slave followed with an agreeable set which at first I thought didn’t quite have the spark of Kraviz’s. He saved some serious face in his last fifteen minutes, however, dropping funky gems like Greg Porter’s "1960 What?" and Donna Summer's disco anthem "I Feel Love". If those songs aren’t a party then I don’t know what is.

Then it was lights on, streamers down and dancers up as Luciano took control of the venue he’s really beginning to make his own. It was a very melodious set this week; it seemed as if the sound was almost split down the middle with synths, pads and vocals soaring every melodic-which-way and sounding very ethereal, whilst Luciano’s usual bass and drum building blocks kept the same bouncing house beat everyone knew and loved.

Having heard Luciano last week, there’s certainly no mistaking which are his favourite tracks at the moment, but with ninety percent of the crowd being fresh faces, who could blame him for giving his most-loved tracks a good thrashing? As the night drew to a close I was faced with a phenomenal light display, as Ushuaïa had once again cemented itself as an outdoor venue to rule them all…

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