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Review: IMS presents Back2Live at Hard Rock Hotel

The Crossovers; when DJs and live music meet.

Following the Back2Live panel discussion at the IMS conference, in which the predominant goal was the incorporation of live performances to the dance music scene, the Gibson Back2Live concert pushed the agenda forward in a big way, with great talents running across the stage until the clock struck 12. The Hard Rock Hotel served the perfect backdrop for the six eclectic bands and DJs to grace the stage and rock the spectators. From Harley Maxwell to Uner and plenty in between - all supported by Pacha resident DJ Andy Baxter - the evening was jam packed with high-energy musicians.

The Nottingham duo April Towers opened the show with their melodramatic dreamy vocals reminiscent of Coldplay's power ballads and lured us in for the show to come. The next act of the night was rising star Harley Maxwell, who dominated the stage, seamlessly blending lyrics and genres - fusing a harmony between chill hop, boom bap and some up-tempo hip hop, leaving you hyped but with a thoughtful appreciation of his on point lyrics. Some crowd pleasers were his rendition of Duke Ellington's It Don't Mean a Thing as well as Maxwell's own tracks Monday Morning and 2sweet4me. Together with Andy Baxter on the decks, the two created a storm.

As night fell, the animals came on stage. The Wolf pounced into the music followed by his high-energy wolf pack. Their atmospheric tribal tech-house grooves, high intensity drums and powerhouse MC had the crowd eating it up and wanting more. The night ended with the rock heavy tunes of Uner and his band that only got really heated towards the second half of their set. Once they were in tune with each other's mood and melodies though they took us on a dark and emotional trip lightened by Uner's delicate touch of the piano. My only regret of their act was not to hear more of Uner's rigorous piano playing which really tied it together.

The Back2Live concert was a great indication of the limitless boundaries musicians and DJs can create when they come together. Not lingering somewhere in between but proudly owning its hot eclectic mix of raw live energy and deep basslines, all of the acts hit the nail on the head. My only question: where were all the people?

WORDS | Maya Dupont PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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