Dusky at Unit 51

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Photography by Alexander Campbell

The walls and ceiling were dripping with condensation by half 11 in the relatively new gig venue in Aberdeen’s underground music tunnel on Carnegie Brae, Unit 51, a mere hour and a half into the opening acts’ warmup for the headliners, granite flecked colours with the lights from the decks stage at the far end of the tunnel, bass pounding spliced through glittering high pitches to a receptive audience. This was the opening scene for one of the most memorable gigs I have ever had the fortune to attend.

The ‘Let It Bleed’ organiser hosted this celebration of electronic music from 10pm to 3 in the morning on Saturday the 26th November. Featuring the rising star London based duo, Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman, making up Dusky, this gig is in the wake of their second album release; the “Outer” tour, and featured support from Rondevu and IDA.

The crowd was in a trance like state from the opening beats to the closing bars of Dusky’s set, lasers spliced through the fog and condensation to create an eerie presence as the duo set about their discography of hits to date, electrifying the coalescent crowd into a frenzy with coloured lights from the massive panel lights strobing in synchronisation with the deep bass reverberation. The bass throbbed from the massive amp system so powerfully it engulfed in a cacophony that swallowed you whole, nobody there was left wanting for atmosphere.

Though featured and endorsed by Radio 1 DJs such as Pete Tong, having been going strong since 2011, the band has a certain notoriety on the house and techno scene already, but proved without a doubt they’re sensitive to their roots, playing the smaller underground venue Unit 51. The reception from fans was unprecedented and symptomatic of the modern age we live in, with fans still clambering to get tickets to the show on social media at 12:30am, a mere half hour before the headliners were due to take the stage.

The venue is still relatively new, having had their opening event on Halloween night, this will have been their second official performance event, with much success as well it would seem. The exterior of Unit 51 is relatively unassuming, much the same as the rest of Carnegie Brae, but with a smaller sealed off smoking area for the event covered round in black and white logo banners. Interestingly the smoking area featured wooden pallets for the seating, with the plywood chipboard seating and standing area at the sides of the venue interior, along with the street style graffiti art that featured on the ventilation systems, it set the tone for the intense recapitulation of niche house and techno rave scene that echoes back to its heyday in the 90’s. The arched ceiling however soon filled with the condensation of the irrepressible ravers beneath, dripping intermittently on the crowd below at bursts of bass throughout the cavernous venue, though it would have taken a lot more to dampen the fans’ spirits.

At the end of the night people left in much the same manner as had been displayed most of the night, we were friendly and joyous, elated and connected by the love of music, a rare thing in the modern clubbing scene it should be noted.

Harmonious, vivacious and electric are the words I would use to describe this performance, immaculately choreographed laser and light shows, pounding music through the spectacular sound system of the venue, unique take on the décor and innovative use of recycled materials repurposed for the gig. Everyone was friendly, happy, united in a way that I for one, haven’t seen since the music videos of the early 90’s through Dusky’s symphonies of modern electro.

As anyone who was there will tell you, if you have the means, make sure you get a ticket to see these guys play before you make up your mind on what this genre of music is. Specifically, I can say with certainty; as someone who knew very little before attending this gig about the duo, their music or the kind of scene to expect, I will be trying to get another ticket to see them, hopefully not while clutching a notepad and pen, resisting the urge to throw my hands up in future though.




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