Sasha & Digweed

Live Shot

Phases and Stages
Photo By John Anderson

Sasha & Digweed

Austin Music Hall, May 23 First the bad news: either the show wasn't loud enough or I'm going deaf. Then there was NYC-based progressive house opener Jimmy Van M, mysteriously unlit on the AMH stage, which made the assembled near-sellout massive wonder if, in fact, there was anyone up there. Such was not a problem for alternating Brits Sasha & Digweed tag-teaming their way through four hours of better-lit trance-y groove in a somewhat less spectacular fashion than at their recent Coachella Music & Arts Festival stop-off last month. Granted, no one at Thursday's Austin gig dropped from heatstroke, and few people suffered the sort of hellish allergy attacks that sidelined more than a few dancers at the horse-dust air of Palm Springs' polo grounds, but then again, tickets were upward of $40, a very steep price by local standards. On the plus side, Sasha and cohort John Digweed arrived with the undeniable superstar DJ panache that follows jet-setting beat-junkies such as themselves like stank on gabber. That the pair would ramp up such a visually arresting and vibrant evening is testament to why these two soft-spoken, self-confessed ordinary blokes have taken the international dance community by storm over the past few years. Once and future Ibiza kings and former standard bearers for NYC's late, lamented Twilo, they drew a capacity crowd that attracted various and sundry old-schoolers (i.e. clubbers over 18), and young pups decked out in enough Lycra to outfit the Village People's fan base. Digweed, the one whose face most clubbers know on sight courtesy of his turn in San Francisco club film Groove, entered first, setting a tone that drew more on melody and darkly hypnotic grooves than on the outright party flavor of pal Sasha. With a style that's growing more and more ambiently orchestrated, huge, spiraling washes of sound cresting into sternum rattling tremblors, Digweed is for my tightfisted money one of the most emotional DJs ever heard. It's one thing to beatmatch vinyl for four hours straight and keep the crowd moving en masse, and an entirely different thing to make b-boys breaking in the corner stop what they're doing and allow their bad selves to be drawn into someone else's personal force field for a change. Sasha's relentless progressive housing about -- lots of breaks, as opposed to the Digger's epic grind -- made for a trippy, funky counterpoint. Still going when this elderly-by-clubbing-standards-and-far-too-jaded-for-his-own-good music geek wandered outside for some ChemiFog-free air roundabout 1am, it's easy to see why the American music press is calling this the British Invasion Redux.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
VVV
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Marc Savlov
Possessor Uncut
Identity melts in this psychotropic assassination brainblender

Oct. 2, 2020

Shortcut
Mangled Italian creature feature should be even shorter

Sept. 25, 2020

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle