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Blog Club Review

Dour Festival, Dour – Belgium



It feels like everyone watching Jurassic 5 rushes to Flying Lotus’s tent as soon as the lights go down. The only bottleneck of the weekend comes about as some ten thousand people try to force themselves up the steep slope towards his stage. By the time we arrive the only space available is found along the walls. This is the second time I have seen his pioneering ‘3D’ visual set up, and it is just as good as I remember. What comes as a surprise, though, is when Steven Ellison came to the front of stage and performs a number of cuts as his alter-ego, Captain Murphy. While these short verses are liberally scattered across his set, they each bite with venom – Ellison is not kidding around with his new project, he is every inch the rapper tonight.

What was immediately apparent from his performance is that the producer at the top of his game is having a lot of fun. His set was far less technical than it used to be, perhaps giving him the freedom to enjoy himself more than ever, particularly when dropping an as-yet unreleased collaboration with DOOM and Earl Sweatshirt, even mischievously introducing the latter to the stage before admitting he’s “just kidding guys, just kidding.” By the time he’s asked to leave, he whips the crowd into frenzy as he demands “eight more songs!” In the end he gets one encore, and dutifully dives into ‘Shake Weight’, a Captain Murphy track built on Buggn by TNGHT. As the plug is finally pulled, Ellison gleefully announces he’ll “be back next year, on the big stage!”

We stick around for Flume, who seems to condense his whole album into a set cut short by the aforementioned theatrics; big-hitters like ‘Holdin’ On’ and ‘On Top’ sitting happily alongside the hip-hop classics which also get an airing in his party-friendly set. Then Gilles Peterson keeps the night going with a heavy and surprisingly mainstream selection from the aficionado. By the time we’ve gone for one last drink, the tents are coming to a close one by one, but as we head for the campsite, a swarm of people head back inside, as Flying Lotus comes back on to finally get the encore he wants. He uses it, hilariously, to reload ‘Buggn’ three (!) times.

The last day was less jam-packed, with only The Smashing Pumpkins and DJ Shadow offering much of a draw. The former are overblown, preposterous and pretty turgid. An encore cover of ‘Immigrant Song’ is a surprise, but where Wu-Tang Clan opened the festival in typically lackadaisical style, Corgan and co. seem entirely disinterested in the whole affair. DJ Shadow, on the other hand, appeared to be revelling in his new guise, outside of his insane stage setup and let loose with a rough and ready ‘All Bases Covered’ set. It was a strong way to round off a brilliant festival, but the weekend’s real winners had been decided long before. Don’t be surprised to see Modeselektor and FlyLo headlining this hidden gem in the Belgian countryside next year. 

Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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