Live Review: John Digweed at Beta

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John Digweed September 18, 2008 Beta Better than: The sounds his old partner Sasha is spinning these days.

I’ve seen John Digweed at raves, I’ve seen him at clubs and I’ve spun his discs until I could hear them in my head. He rarely disappoints and tonight was no exception. Admittedly, the start of his set was a little rough. He started off a little heavier and more driving than I anticipated he would, perhaps because he had just under two hours to play. Worse, the sound, especially the low end, was muddy and distorted. Before long, though, things took a turn for the better. Either they adjusted the sound or I became adjusted to it, and my internal groove caught up to Digweed’s pacing and everything was just lovely.

Interestingly, the sound he was playing was more in tune with his older, straightforward progressive work than his newer, twisted, techy work heard on the Transitions series. It wasn’t bad by any means, nor even particularly disappointing, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. It may have been simply a matter of playing to the crowd, since the crowd seemed to be loving every second of it.

Technically the set was solid, even impressive. The mixing was impeccable, the use of effects was subtle and well-executed and there were no jarring transitions. It could have been a bit more adventurous perhaps, but deejaying is all about playing to the crowd, not pleasing the critic in the audience, so I can’t complain too much. All in all, it was a totally solid set and I had a great time dancing to it, even if I wasn’t completely floored by any of it.

-- Cory Casciato

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I’m a longtime fan of Digweed’s, and nothing I heard tonight changed that. Random Detail: Lots of good dancers came out tonight, so there was plenty to watch. By the Way: Head down to Beta early enough and not only do you catch some solid openers, you can park for free on the street!

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