British producer, DJ and muscian Joshua Steele, or as he’s better known, Flux Pavilion, has returned from the US based segment of his ‘Freeway’ tour to complete it with a number of gigs here in Britain. The tour marks the end of an eventful year for the artist, having released two EPs, Blow The Roof, and Freeway.
Supporting Flux Pavilion, was Canadian producer DATSIK, most well known for his hardcore dubstep tracks. Upon entering the O2 Academy Bournemouth, the effect of his heavier style was immediately apparent. A large number of guests stood awkwardly around the busy venue, as they tried to figure out what they were listening to. Further in however the energy was palpable. DATSIK bounced in the shadows of the stage, behind his decks dealing out one aggressive tune after another. Though it was apparent that his music didn’t appeal to everyone, the majority of the crowd filled the center of the venue, moving as one huge mass to song after song. I was skeptical that DATSIK’s set would become monotonous due to the similarity of some songs, yet this were nicely interspersed with movements into trap and gangster, whilst his classic dubstep in contrast was dark and rhythmic, and at times incredibly atmospheric.
Following DATSIK’s set, was a long pause before Flux Pavilion’s set, especially considering how short a DJ changeover should be, and unfortunately a lot of the crowds energy and excitement that had been built up by Datsik was lost. Upon taking the stage, however, Flux Pavilion immediately seized the audiences attention as he cued the sing-along anthem, ‘The Scientist’ and in a refreshing turn of events sung the vocals live, rather uncommon for a DJ. Having heard Josh express an interest in developing the incorporation of live elements, besides mixing, into his set, during a recent interview with The Edge, it was really gratifying to see the steps he was already taking to apply this to his existing performance.
Flux Pavilion delivered his set from an impressive high tech stage rig, with strobes, lasers, seven tall LED boards, displaying graphics, and his huge personalized light-up booth. This high tech setup was brilliantly juxtaposed against the classical architecture of the O2 academy’s old opera hall, making the gig feel really unique.
Considering the added handicap presented by his recent injury to his arm, Flux Pavilion’s mixing was still very impressive, despite only being able to use one arm. He blended new tracks from his most recent EP, Freeway, ‘I’m The One‘ and ‘Steve French‘ brilliantly, effortlessly moving the crowd from Moombahton to House. As the set progressed, it did at times feel a little formulaic, as songs were built into beat rolls, before a pause, vocal sample and then a drop; this began to become repetitive. Later however Flux began to impress again as he built up from a brief injection of trap into ‘Jump Back‘, featuring Foreign Beggars, their lyrics lending venomous power, especially as it was looped into a call to the audience to ‘Jump’ as he readied his next drop.
Flux Pavilion brought his set to a close in true style delivering the title track ‘Freeway‘ from his latest EP, once again singing the vocals himself, this time really captivating his audience. As a finale this performance worked perfectly, and was met with great cheers even after Flux Pavilion left the stage. Returning for an encore, he once again proved the popularity of UK drum and bass as ‘Gold Dust‘ was welcomed enthusiastically.
To see DJs really impose on such a large indoor venue, filling a what was once a dance hall, with energy was breathtaking. DATSIK particularly impressed as a support act, due to the response he generated as he toyed with his crowd and the (surprising large) contingent of devoted fans he had in the audience, with his unavoidably engrossing sound and rhythm. Thanks to the stage production, his skills on the decks, and the incorporation of his own vocals, Flux Pavilion’s set was everything a DJ of his caliber’s set should be: impressive, technical and innovative.