A sold-out dance gig on a Saturday night should be pretty great. A sold-out dance gig on a Saturday night in Dublin WITH an Irish DJ should be fairly spectacular. And yet last Saturday’s homecoming gig for Marcus Lambkin didn’t seem to hit the heights it maybe could have.
Shit Robot‘s cute, childish, neon headwear (incidentally; great hipster Halloween costume idea) provides a strong focal point for the show as he appears on stage (or, to be more accurate, through a hatch) shortly after midnight. The sound and lighting are spot on and the scene should be set for a few hours of madness. But, like Mayo on All-Ireland Final day, there’s an unmistakeable feeling of being underwhelmed.
The venue is arguable the source of blame here; The Sugar Club is a nice space and definitely offers something different to most Dublin venues. In fact, there are many artists that would benefit from the setting. But the cinema-style seating means there is no sweaty, intense atmosphere that is arguably needed for a truly memorable dance gig. Many of the crowd do flock to the space up in front of the stage/hatch but with so many people standing on the stairs, sipping their drinks, it feels at times like a average club night with a random DJ playing in the corner. It’s not the crowd’s fault, nor that of the DJ, it just seems to be a natural consequence of the choice of venue.
None of which is too suggest that Shit Robot is not worth seeing in the future. Things didn’t ignite on Saturday, but Lambkin is a great DJ and he showed just why James Murphy holds him in such high esteem at times on Saturday. A chance of direction here, a kick of adrenalin there, keeping the crowd on their toes without throwing off their strictly-for-Saturday-night dance moves. His hand was out for the crowd to be held in it. Circumstances dictated that we couldn’t oblige this time though.
Of course many in attendance may well have liked this set-up. Maybe sweat and lack of personal space may not be a pre-requisite for a dance gig. But I’ll be making sure my next sight of Shit Robot is in a basement… or a small field.