Soulwax – O2 Ritz, Manchester – 09/04/17

I’ve been very vocal about the fact that From Deewee, the first album from Soulwax in twelve years, is one of my favourite new records this year. In fact, it is a record that I enjoy so much I decided to come out of live review retirement when the duo brought their live show to the Ritz.

To add a bit of a backstory to this review. Soulwax were at Bilbao BBK last summer, one of the names that I was very excited about seeing. I’ve always been a big fan of Any Minute Now and I was expecting to get to see some tracks that I’d loved back in 2004. Instead, I was treated to over an hour of music I’d never heard, stuff that wasn’t from Any Minute Now.

What I’ve since discovered, with the release of From Deewee, is that back in July of last year Soulwax were treating us to the majority of that record. What I’ve also discovered is that I was a fool to be disappointed.

So let us fast forward to April of 2017. As detailed above, I’d since listened to the new record and absolutely loved it. I had to go and see them perform it live knowing what I was in for.

To jump the gun, the show was better than I had expected. Soulwax played the record pretty much in full, but with a few variations. The stage was set up in a unique way with Stephen Dewaele and David Dewaele at the centre of the stage, surrounded by three drum kits to their left, right and back as well as two other people taking up synth and guitar.  inclusion on three drummers would struggle to enhance any show. Sepultura, real lies? Work they did was impressive but when working in tandem it was something else.

It was the three drummers who really stole the show, however. Made up of Victoria Smith, Blake Davies and Igor Cavalera, the three were magnificent. Working in tandem to create an epic, drum-heavy sound but then also being given their own individual moments to make a mark. Igor Cavalera, in particular, stealing the limelight during ‘Missing Wires’. It was a sound that left you wondering if the inclusion of three drummers would enhance any show. Electronic shows tend to rely on a superb light show to help make the experience that bit more enjoyable and Soulwax’s, although not as elaborate, was still as effective.

Ultimately, this was an extremely well-rehearsed show. They mixed classic Soulwax tracks with new and there was barely a gap for the audience to even applaud. This was a set where the entire venue was moving for over 90 minutes, non-stop. As the group played ‘NY excuse’, the last track before the encore, I looked around the room and struggled to see a single person who wasn’t absolutely loving life. If you get the chance to see Soulwax in their current form, you’d be a fool to miss out.