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Review: DJ Shadow at Manchester’s Albert Hall

It’s a rare privilege to see such a seminal act in flesh, and DJ Shadow did not disappoint on Friday at his sold out show at Manchester’s Albert Hall.

After a warm up set from Clams Casino, the rumble of floor-quaking bass announced Joshua Paul Davis, aka DJ Shadow to the Albert Hall crowd. Barely visible on the dimly lit stage with 360° projection screens, the maestro built a slow, dark, ambient intro.

It was just past 8pm, and he remained unhurried, mounting his charge with the practiced patience of an artist who knows exactly how his cards will fall.

Cuts from latest release Our Pathetic Age and The Mountain Will Fall came early in the set, alongside a constant stream of tripped-out graphics which flooded the screen surrounding the stage. Just like the songs he drew from, Shadow’s live setup was a mix of old and new. Watching the legend go from turntable theatrics to electronic drum sets and mixers was an incomparable spectacle.

There’s a reason this man has so much respect; he is a master live performer, and his scratching skills are something to behold. Add to his magnetic stage presence and some mesmerising visual projections, and you have an otherworldly night on your hands.

The carefully crafted mood of introspection grew through the set, mixing between old and new tracks. The main highlights came later on in the night, with  Nobody Speak , Shadow’s collaboration with Run The Jewels, and new track Rocket Fuel, featuring De La Soul.  Even for those who do know only the old stuff, it is highly entertaining to see DJ Shadow make it new again.

The night overall was a singularly delicious mix of visuals and beats with DJ Shadow proving he’s still in the premier league of turntablists.

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