Review: DJ Shadow - ABC, Glasgow

WHO says DJ shows are boring? This audacious audio-visual display from Californian cut-and-paste maestro DJ Shadow, aka Josh Davis, was one of the most stimulating gigs of the year, a testament to complementing sound with image to engrossing effect.

A large orb, centre stage, dominated proceedings. This was Davis’s home for the duration of the gig, though initially all that could be discerned was, appropriately, his shadow, then a hand waving out the top of the structure. It was also the canvas onto which his video artist Mike Dorrie projected a creative, witty slideshow before the sphere span round and Shadow was revealed, showing off his scratch skills and battering syndrums to the point of collapse.

Davis doesn’t deal in hooklines in the same way as, say, The Chemical Brothers or Underworld, but takes a compelling patchwork approach, presenting a mixtape mash-up of his eclectic tastes, dropping in the results of his bargain bin rummages to mount an all-round aural assault which encompassed rare groove, Latin pop and exotica, crunchy breakbeat, the electro equivalent of Hendrix-style riffola, jazz and even classical elements – the epic organ arpeggios on Endtroducing have become a Shadow signature.

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Occasionally, he allowed a vocal sample to run its course. The Celtic-sounding lament forming the backbone of Sad And Lonely was every bit as hypnotic as the visuals, which appeared to transfix the audience so that there was surprisingly little dancing. Scenes of suburbia were matched to a tranquil female vocal; elsewhere, the orb was transformed into a basketball, the Death Star, a snowglobe and, inevitably, the Earth itself, spinning in a cosmos projected onto the backdrop. It seems that DJ Shadow has made a right spectacle of himself this time.

RATING: ****