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Review: Duke Dumont at London's Oslo

A*M*E, MNEK, Jax Jones and the whole gang tear up Hackney Central...

The cool kids were out in force the other night to witness a rare live performance from stealth chart attacker Duke Dumont, who has steadily wracked up numerous hits. They were all, spaced out throughout the evening with his live show, packed with incredible guest performances.

Someone recently pointed out to me that anywhere described as ‘achingly hip’ was sure to be anything but, though it seems like a fair enough description of the venue Oslo, rising like a pheonix from the ashes of the building site that is Hackney Central station.

The set up was smooth lighting and atmospheric LED video screens, which unobtrustively enhanced the whole underground rave vibe, while live musicians flanked Mr Dumont, playing synths, keys, any number of percusion instruments and the integral Steel Pan.

The first song was unexpectedly the massive hit Need U (100%) and not really having thought the whole thing through, we were a bit shocked to see A*M*E bound onto the stage in an oversized BLASE BOYS CLUB t-shirt, matching the whole band and DD himself. In a flash of smiles she was gone, and the dance hits prevailed. Easily the best track of the night was I Got U, as Jax Jones came on and blew everyone away.

Only the late great Whitney could’ve come close to pulling that off, and if you closed your eyes you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference. Amazing. Another dance break before MNEK radiated a child-like glee in performing, and the finalewas bathed in red like an interpretation of Macbeth, packing the same amount of drama into approximately three minutes.

The 90’s nostaglia came thick and fast, and we found ourselves having potent flashbacks to being eight years old, our parents throwing a medieval themed fancy dress birthday party. They’d bought one double vinyl album to soundtrack the event called Deep Heat. Anyway, the new single Won’t Look Back which is a bit like Black Box’s Ride On Time but instead of ‘gotta get up, gotta get up, gotta get up’ it was ‘living it up, living it up, living it up’ – it’s hard to tell where sampling and homage mix, but it doesn’t really matter as the whole thing, no matter backwards looking it seems, it always has one eye forward.

We’re not entirely sure what they’d done with the sound set up, but the Verbalicious’ Don’t Play Nice lyric “waiting for the bassline, speakers that can dry my hair” ran around our head. We’ve never been to a gig and had our hair dance of it’s own accord, especially in contrast to how many bodies were moving of their own accord. The only feet that weren’t moving in Oslo that night belonged to trendy furniture.

Words: Bob Henderson, @bobchicalors

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