808 State at The Waterfront 7/12/18 - Review
Acid house pioneers 808 State bring massive hits to The Waterfront on their tour celebrating 30 years since they began. Getting the crowd in the mood for a night of hypnotic beats was Nottingham DJ Lone who played from his eclectic catalogue of uplifting tracks featuring the likes of Pulsar and Pineapple Crush. Listening to the sound of his music makes you see why he is touring with house originators 808 State, ethereal back drops from synths play as the tracks become more layered with beats and unique sounds before dropping into a catchy chorus that demands attention. The crowd demographic was mostly middle aged people and this newer act was a good display to original house fans of where the genre has gone since 808 State helped build it. My highlight was 'Airglow Fires' with its strong synth lead and rhythmic drumbeat.
The room really livens up when Graham Massey and Andrew Barker take their places behind the Dell, Apple Mac and decks. Playing songs from their five landmark albums (Ninety, Ex:el, Don Solaris, Outpost Transmission, Gorgeous) we are given a well-rounded tour of what the quintet-now-duo have produced over their thirty year career. The classic songs are interluded with new unheard material from their upcoming album Transmission Suite proving that the duo are not yet done with creating.
The vibe of the show ranges from a hypnotic, repetitive atmosphere with tracks like Sunrise from Ninety to a more manic and experimental one with tracks like 808080808 from the same album which features a heavy layering of lots of different sounds in a quicker tempo. The cherry on top of this performance was the presence of an acoustic drum kit which added a layer of authenticity to the performance. Performance of electronic music is something that can become monotonous and boring but 808 State know how to perform and entertain at the same time. The highlight of the show was during Pacific State when Graham Massey played the signature hook of the track on the saxophone to much applause and cheer.
After I heard Bicep’s remix of In Yer Face earlier this year I fell in love with the track and it was this song that introduced me to 808 State. When they played the original version it did not disappoint; Alistair Cooke’s haunting words during the intro preparing the audience for the heavy bass riffs and syncopated drums to follow.
There was a constant groove in the crowd for the whole night and it was clear that people were there to dance. The set was quite short but for the time they played there wasn’t a single wasted second, snare or synth, showing that the Manchester veterans have still got it in them to throw a good party.