For the well-balanced Irish person, Easter Sunday is a time to cast off the shackles of Lent and gorge on chocolates in a socially acceptable mass binge, with devastating consequences. As Weight Watchers meetings across the nation fill up with chocoholics, should we be asking ourselves how these confectionery giants sleep at night? The perfect remedy of course is an extended stretch on the dancefloor, and who better to lead the exercises than affable party comrades Sven Vath and Richie Hawtin, who arrived in Dublin’s fair city for a rare double-headed knees-up down at the Tripod in Harcourt Street.
Do I really need to tell you who Vath and Hawtin are? Let’s skip the history lesson. Suffice to say those are two names responsible for the resurgence of techno as a force to be reckoned with on the current scene. No surprise then that the Tripod sold out for the gig with queues forming before 10 o’clock to catch Herr Vath kicking off.
The man they call Uncle Sven was in fine form, making a complete mockery of what would normally be regarded as a warm-up slot. His set both summoned darkness from the skies like a battle-hungry warlord, but was played with typical nod-and-a-wink antics, a combination that built a great rapport with the audience. Vath’s swagger and on-stage gestures make him a great DJ to watch; he possesses a youthful exuberance that defy his many years on the scene. At one point he even stage-dived in front of the decks, indulging a mini-crowd surf before scarpering back to mix in the next track.
The bump and grind of tracks like Solid Groove’s ‘This is Sick' and ‘Hummel' by Adam Kroll kept a pretty tight grip on proceedings, but there were also deeper hypnotic tracks to mix things up. Winding up with pummeling teutonic notes, Vath finished with ‘Komm und Traum mit mir der Mitternachtstraum’, his collab with Anthony Rother, which I think translates as "have you had enough yet" or something. Well, maybe not. But it ended a crowd-pleasing set in excellent Vath fashion, which aside from one weird moment where things went a little Krautrock, I have to say that I enjoyed thoroughly.
This gig was part of his ‘Sound of the Seventh Season’ tour and it was being filmed by Sven’s team, no doubt to be included on a DVD at some stage. Look forward to it.
Hawtin arrived at one o’clock with a new look hairstyle, which makes him look, if anything, a little like Sven. But the music was unmistakably his own – he began with a flurry, dropping out the low end and building up other elements to a crescendo before unleashing the bass, was pretty much his tactic for much of the opening hour. A roar of approval went up each time. The rest of it was sexy minimal: an edit of Beyer's 'AWC' was one I managed to trainspot. The visuals were fantastic too: the silhouettes of dancing girls especially caught my eye. And then it finished, much too soon. Two hours really isn’t enough for a DJ like Hawtin.
As the crowd pleaded for one more, he came back and it seemed like he might indulge us, but sadly it was only to say thanks and shake the hands of those on the frontline. Unfortunately Ireland’s licensing laws haven’t caught up with the rest of the planet: they still favor the pub landlord and not those seeking late night entertainment. The shackles of Lent have a lot to answer for.