In an age when superstar DJs generally pitch up with an expensive laser show and a USB stick loaded with a pre-programmed set, it was refreshing to encounter a music maven from an earlier generation who still reads a room and mixes his tunes accordingly.
Fatboy Slim ***
It was a sign of these changed times that Fatboy Slim’s relatively no-frills in-the-round show – with slowly spinning rig, hydraulic platform, disco ball, coloured spotlights strafing the crowd, ticker tape, confetti showers, balloons and lots of smiley face acid house pill imagery (those were the days, eh?) – seemed like a quaint visual display.
Instead, most of the love rightly went into the music. Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook, is quite the party puppetmaster, turning in a typically eclectic clubbing soundtrack, drawing on thumping hi-energy beats from the 80s, old school rave anthems from the 90s and heavy, dubby 21st century jungle, mixed in with electro pop classics – he got a lot of mileage from one judiciously chosen Gary Numan sample – plus snippets of samba tunes and film and TV themes.
Although the room could have been busier, he still attracted a wide constituency of ages and musical tribes, teasing this non-typical clubbing crowd with snatches of his own hits Praise You, Right Here, Right Now and Rockafeller Skank. But as his ninety-minute set wore on, Cook favoured more hardcore beats at the expense of euphoric, playful character, such that the closing decelerated, soulful mix of Praise You felt a little anti-climactic.