There aren't many artists as singular as Radioactive Man; not only did he play a key part in forming the UK's own style of hard-hitting electro, but he also collaborated with Andrew Weatherhall to produce a number of seminal albums as Two Lone Swordsman. His appeal stretches over generations, appealing to both an older scene and younger ravers, keen to immerse themselves in his timeless productions.
Walking into Wire in Leeds, there was a noticeably mixed crowd. The older heads were unsurprisingly out in force, whilst the dancefloor was bolstered by trendy students braving both the cold and exam period to catch Keith Tenniswood in his element. Subterranea's resident Phil Warner was on the warm up, playing a mix of electro and techno from the likes of Terrance Dixon and Aphex Twin, whilst occasionally slipping in smoother house joints, like Route 8's 'This Raw Feeling'. His seamless flow put the room in a great mood, and by 1:30am the club was in tense anticipation for Radioactive Man to take to the flashing array of hardware and MPCs set up in the temporary booth.
Hovering over his set-up like a spaceship commander, the first thing I noticed was that Tenniswood was keeping it old school, choosing to use hardware to load all his samples, unlike most “live” performances these days which involve computers. The volume increased and away he went, tapping in drum patterns and pushing the Wire system to its limit, with the quality and mastering of his productions working the Function 1 to full capacity. He didn't hold back, tearing through old and new work, changing up the tempo with remarkable ease, but always keeping the crowd energetic and on their toes. The UK element was strong throughout his set, veering into breakbeats and jungle rhythms at points, which sent the veteran ravers in Wire into a frenzy. All too soon it was 3am, and he finished with an extended rendition of 'Uranium', leaving the club in raptures and the Subterranea residents scratching their heads over how to follow such a high energy performance.
Fortunately Dan Jackson did a sterling job of following on, with an excellent selection of old and new IDM and electro, swinging through records from Plaid, The Hacker and Morphology. It is no easy feat to follow a live set, especially one as impressive as Radioactive Man's, but he did so with aplomb, keeping the crowd captivated straight through to the early morning. Club nights are often programmed badly, but this was a masterclass in putting the right music on at the right time, with both the residents and Radioactive Man on top form, reading the crowd to a tee and pulling out all the right tracks for the occasion.
By Alex Theodossiadis | Loose Lips