‘Post Dubstep Pioneers’ Mount Kimbie may have been about since 2008, but the passing of a decade certainly hasn’t dampened their ability to create confident, bubbling and technically brilliant music. Whilst their early work leaned heavily on the UK dubstep scene, they quickly became known for their own brand of exploratory electronica which moved away from the heavy bass usually associated with dubstep. Their lighter, more ambient style has attracted a cult of enthusiastic fans who have embraced this new, more ambiguous era of electronica defined by found sounds and atmospheric haziness- but still with the sparse, syncopated rhythmic patters of dubstep.
Support Pepe provided a rousing opening set from 11-1, at which point you half expected Mount Kimbie to rise from behind the decks in some sort of dramatic cloud of smoke. However, the transition from support to headliner occurred without it even being clear that it had in fact happened- Pepe’s set seemed to drift into Mount Kimbie’s with an unexpected air of blasé-ness. Perhaps it was the fact that Mount Kimbie didn’t even come on until 1, but the crowd did little more than some infrequent head bobbing and bouncing on the spot when they eventually graced the Headrow stage with their presence. By the time the set was drawing to a close, an awkward drawn out space had elongated at the back of the venue, with the fans who made it till the end of the 4am set squashing awkwardly towards the deck for fear of having to stand in the blackness of the open dancefloor.
The absence of vocalists such as King Krule and James Blake was painfully apparent during the set, with key fan favourite tracks such as blue train lines and we go home together missing from the lineup; whilst you want producers to experiment at live shows and can’t expect them to simply play the songs they’ve already developed, many fans will have left disappointed having only really heard made to stray for their £11 worth. Despite the sense that there was some sort of magic missing, its undoubtable that the set was still enjoyable- it’s even harder to place what it really is that Mount Kimbie did wrong. Maybe they should bring King Krule along for a guest slot.