Electrifying Joy Orbison Returns to Wire

Clubbing on Halloween weekend always seems to throw up a treat or two; the same weekend last year saw Red Bull Music Academy bring a monstrous line up headed by DJ Harvey to Canal Mills. This year, though, Wire claimed bragging rights with a scarily good double-booking that saw one of 2017’s most talked about young talents join one of contemporary UK dance music’s most inimitable pioneers.

It would be hard to find a more exciting warm up DJ than Or:la’s in Leeds this year. The striking Irishwoman’s three hour warm up set displayed a musical wit and technical proficiency that far exceeds her 25 years. Slowly building from deep house into the kind of slamming percussive tracks that have defined her sets of late, leaving Joy Orbison bobbing his head approvingly. She finished with the gritty Servito and Cudmore remix of Gunnar Haslam’s ‘Scale No Flam’, and in doing so, set the tone perfectly.

It’s hard to know where to start and even harder to know where to finish, when describing Joy Orbison. Perhaps it’s best just to say that he’s the kind of DJ that kept Wire pulsing with energy ‘til 5am; and made it look totally effortless. His set saw no corner of dance music go untouched, as he went from hard-nosed electro to obscure UK Funky with ‘Brave’ by Dynamite. Before any clubber could stop to think he surged into a gun-finger inducing blend of his own ‘Off Season’ and the 10 ton remix of Tessela’s ‘Hackney Parrot’.

By the time 5am hit, Orbison was treating (a still packed) Wire to a stream of sexy jungle, not too dissimilar to records his uncle Ray Keith might have once played. His skin-tight mixing throughout made wild cross genre leaps seem elementary, but it was his inventive use of acapellas throughout that really stood out, serving as interludes to a musical journey that was both outstandingly thoughtful and genuinely eclectic, where he made sure every song had a purpose and further solidified himself was one of UK’s most treasured DJ’s.

James Gwyther

Image credits: BBC