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- Soulwax »
In 1999, Soulwax engraved themselves onto the live circuit. The tour revolved around their first British album, 'Much Against Everyone’s Advice', and saw the band play feverish sets up and down the UK. The shows were passionate, energetic, and above all, fun.
A lot has changed in the five years since the quirky Belgian band with a penchant for flashing mic-stands, sharp suits and Casio guitar showboating have been away. The main change being the brothers Dewales' (the core duo of Soulwax) rapid rise to fame under the DJ guise of 2 Many DJs. As the 2 Many DJ’s continued their ascendancy, Soulwax became forgotten. That was until a few months ago, when the third Soulwax album, 'Any Minute Now', hit the shelves as the band hit the road again.
So it is with baited breath that the Bimingham audience tonight waits for the quartet to come onstage and remind us what a fantastic live band Soulwax are. 'E-talking' and 'Any Minute Now' kick the gig off at a frenetic pace that rarely slackens for the next 40 minutes.
Unsurprisingly the band concentrates on their new material. The merits of this are debatable, but what's most notable is the humour and sense of fun that's palpably not here tonight. Soulwax are trying too hard to be a serious band, a responsibility that never rested on their shoulders back in 1999. And it’s that need to prove they’re a serious band that sees little contact between band and audience. All spontaneity is lost as Soulwax put in a very workman-like performance.
As an inevitable main set closer, we get a flashback to the wayback with the track 'Too Many DJs' (now minus the all-important human beatbox breakdown), before things get really bad. The shift is nearly over, the workers are slacking, and the set ends with 'N.Y.Excuse', but it comes over as hollow, with all sense of urgency stripped from its bones - the sound of a shift worker slacking throughout the last five minutes of his shift.
The Soulwax show of 2004 may be, and hopefully will be, salvageable though; this is their first night of this UK jaunt and maybe they’re just finding their feet. Still, if they don’t find them fast, it looks like their career as a band won’t be going as far as the places they find themselves playing as popular DJs.
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