Gig Review + Photography by Gunnar Mallon

It is hard to believe that it has been 21 years since the release of DJ Shadow’s ground-breaking and highly influential experimental hip-hop album Endtroducing. Yet DJ Shadow has not lost an inch of his creative drive, pushing the envelope further yet again with his latest album The Mountain Will Fall. It was on this school night that Shadow was able to play his full set, having previously played cut-down sets at festivals, and hypnotise the packed Albert Hall with a perfectly melange of in-your-face turntablism and spectacular visual displays.

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Before Shadow took to the stage, a new star shone bright, in the form of Noer the Boy, who showed all the hallmarks of great things to come in the not too distant future. With heavy breakbeats and masterful counter-tempo drops, Noer the Boy, had the crowd eating out of his hand in no time. Breaking with traditional turntable standards and branching out into new and unchartered musical territories, It was clear why Shadow has been supporting Noer and touring with him.

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With great anticipation and roaring applause Shadow took to the stage. Not simply hiding behind his decks and delivering a slick set, he actively engaged with the crowd confessing his love for Manchester and British audiences. Kicking off the set with the title-track of his latest album and the name of the tour The Mountain Will Fall, things started off tame with under-accentuated visuals but picked up in intensity and a visual spectacle the likes I had never seen before.

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DJ Shadow’s music has always been innovative and at the forefront of experimental hip-hop. However, his live shows would not be as legendary as they are without the incredible and trippy visuals by his long-term collaborator Ben Stokes, who no longer tours with him but still creates a spellbinding visual display, every inch as “out-there” as the music it accompanies. With a set of three screen behind Shadow and a transparent muslin screen, onto which visuals were projected. The stunning light show created a perfect illusion of Shadow performing in a holographic projection box of psychedelic beauty.

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Shadow’s track Nobody Speak (feat. Run The Jewels) perfectly represented the evening’s show, and is an ideal reminder of why more than two decades after his first album, Shadow still packs concert halls all over the world. With a splendid mix of heavy-rap, drop-hop and dubstep, this socially-critical pacifist yet apocalyptic vision of our current state of affairs is truly a masterpiece that would have made Stanley Kubrick proud.

The evening with Noer the Boy and DJ Shadow was a truly exceptional audio-visual treat that cleansed my mundane social palette and reminded me that there are more important things in life and that we should all take care of each other a bit more. The evening was captured on video, with its own “Stonehenge moment”, and if released on time, my friends will most likely all get the same present for Christmas.

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Setlist:

The Mountain Will Fall
I Gotta Rokk
Bergschrund
Meiso (DJ Krush song)
Guns Blazing (Drums and Death Pt. 1) (UNKLE song)
Rabbit in your Headlights (UNKLE song – Thom York)
Stem/Long Stem (Clams Casino Remix)
Rabbit in your Headlights (UNKLE song)
Fixed Income
Systematic
Horror Show
Suicide Pact
Midnight in a Perfect World (Hudson Mohawke Remix)
What Does Your Soul Look Like, pt 4
Six Days
Depth Charge
Nice Nightmares (Nite School Klik song)
Nobody Speak
The Number song (Cut Chemist Remix)
Building Steam With a Grain of Salt (Salva Remix)

Encore:

Six Days (re-take)
Corridors
The Sideshow
Organ Donor
The Mountain Will Fall

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