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Review: Subliminal, 23rd August

A perfect blend of commercial and underground.

Pacha housed a triple-header of big names at Subliminal last night; it was a Steve Angello sandwich, with Dirty South first off the blocks. His was a dynamic and eclectic set, throughout which he teased with remixes of radio classics like ColdplayParadise to draw the crowd in, built up to mercilessly loud crescendos then smashed us all to bits with banging tech drops. Angello and Morillo appeared in the booth at one point and cheekily grabbed Dirty South from behind, Morillo whispering (or more accurately, yelling) something in his ear. He must have said something right because the next track was an excellent modern release in an old fashioned house style - The New Iberican League, Roland Clark - Work It (Club Mix). Dirty South's own remix of Temper Trap, Sweet Disposition also got a look in, as did Calvin Harris' remix of Nero Promises and towards the end the beats even got a little progressive with a lovely Pryda number. In a mad sprint to the finish, the Serbian-Australian DJ dropped the vocal section of his own remix of Skylar Grey's Coming Home amidst a flurry of blue lasers, mixed it into a cheeky teaser of Faithless, Insomnia then back into his remix, just in time for the heavy drop. It was large.

If Dirty South had been big, Steve Angello was elephantine, opening with a bang on his own huge electro track, Knas. Hyperbole abounds in this review, but that's the nature of this style of music – and all three did it very well tonight. Angello lost none of the pace and grunt of his opener for the next twenty minutes, relentlessly driving home chunky and rhythmic basslines that had those on the dance floor flailing and stomping like creatures possessed. Gradually Angello lifted us out of the dirty electro pit he'd created, first bulking out the middle ground with Pendulum's Island pt1 and finally swinging into the lighter house end with the very first hit from Swedish House MafiaOne. Angello frequently picked up the microphone throughout the set (though I'd have rather he picked up the headphones) and at one point instigated a ‘sit down' of middling success (some people just can't play by the rules, can they?).

Erick Morillo took the reigns at 4:30 and engaged us all with his ecstatic antics; arms out, eyes closed singing along at (presumably) full volume . . . it's always a pleasure to watch a DJ get carried away. Morillo's set went on to be an exciting, uplifting experience, with the heaviness of his predecessors with some creative vocal lines above, for example a mental remix of his own collaboration with Sympho Nympho called Murder The Dance Floor. It was nice to hear all three DJs incorporating the well-known sing-a-long tracks, but without relying on them.

It's a blurry line, but the underground/commercial divide was breached consistently last night and it worked out well for everyone. It was a perfect night for electro or tech-heads wanting something more light-hearted, or for commercial-fiends looking for an underground kick. Nice one, Subliminal.

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