Shed’s shortened set leaves a bitter taste at Flux

At exactly 4:05am on Thursday morning, something inside me died. Tech-house filled my ears, the DJ raised his ape-like arms and I watched as one of the most influential techno producers of the last 15 years left the stage, an hour before his already tiny two hour set was intended to finish. Flux, you fucked up.

The sudden death of whatever alcove of my brain that was looking for a good time and which ultimately disintegrated, was not killed on the spot at 4:05am. No it had been gradually faltering over the night, sustained only by Mr. G’s groove drenched live set, the hour of Shed’s seamless techno and the great selection of George Hartshorn. For two and a half hours of an eight hour event, I found music worthy of getting down to. And yet. On finally discovering music that didn’t make my face bleed, I found an audience that seemed unsure of what to do with itself. How can a gathering or predominantly young, high, party loving people merely sway to undoubted one of the funkiest, feel good, low-end house sets imaginable? Mr. G himself, a man who has played a relatively similar live set for over two decades still had more enthusiasm in him than 90% of the gurning masses.  At least some groups were spotted, at the back in particular, showing some kind of emotion outside of blank staring and confused stumbling.

Despite all this I was willing to stick it out for Shed. I came for a journey and no spangled ket fiends were going to take that from me. By 4:05am, Shed had already delved deep and finally, it seemed the audience was willing to let the music take them. I briefly broke my trance to take a look at the stage where somebody was whispering to René Pawlowitz (Shed). Within moments, the music was lowered, René bowed, and like the coming of the apocalypse, tech-house reared its repugnant head.

I understand that to some, those who had a fantastic time in the warehouse getting down to the Bee Gees ‘staying alive’, or that small circle of people down in the basement enjoying Thomas Prins’ bizarre guitar driven jams, I must sound obnoxious. For certainly Beaver works was not awash with weeping masses. However, with a reputation for some of the best parties in the UK, what was provided on Wednesday night for those interested in exciting, scene pushing electronic music, was unacceptable. When headline artists of such calibre play for one only hour, something is wrong. It shows a disregard for both the music and those paying for a memorable experience.

So during this upcoming semester, next time you think, yes, Flux, that sounds like a good time… perhaps don’t. Go see Vera and Jane Fitz at Butter Side Up, see DJ Stingray annihilate Wire, feel Mr Scruff’s vinyl euphoria or have Umfang B2B Volvox melt your head. I’m sorry Flux, but really, you fucked up. 

Thomas Bennett