Friday, March 25, 2011

DBR and DJ Scientific: Dance Hall

Friday 25th March
Hobart City Hall
Ten Days on the Island
Is it an electric guitar, or a violin? Certainly, for the first set you may have been confused, as DBR arced about the centre of the stage, looking (and sounding) like a lead guitarist from the 1980s, channelling his six-stringed instrument and allowing it full reign.

Unfortunately, his frenzy lacked contagious elements. Yes, there were beats and a little mixing going on from DJ Scientific underneath, but the performance seemed to fall somewhere between music that could actually be danced to, and music that was interesting enough to make you want to just sit and listen. For a dance hall, that's something of a problem. Guest vocals from Emeline Michele brought a little more engagement with the audience, providing a way into the performance, but this was too soon dissipated by an interval.

Post-break, the lights went down, people were encouraged to come forward and DJ Scientific brought a more traditional, rhythmic mix to the table, with DBR's sparer use of violin facilitating an atmosphere more conducive to dancing. The hall appeared appreciative, but even at its height the crowd was relatively small. Perhaps the higher ticket prices kept the mass of punters away.

Possibly the set-up was part of the problem. Dominated by tables in the centre with a small area up the front for those wanting to shake it, Hobart's City Hall resembled a well-resourced but slightly dreary cruise ship, enabling sitting and listening, eating cheese and drinking wine – but sad to say, hardly appropriate for a feverish dance hall.

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