Tonight is our 5th or 6th time seeing Belgian brothers 2 Many DJs, and what’s become obvious is that the pair have two entirely different modes. At Belsonic back in 2010, and various other festival sets, they performed beneath a backdrop of cleverly adapted album covers, adding sharp house-style mash-ups to tracks that are so recognizable your average Irish mammy could pick out chunks of the set. Then there’s the full on mode; stark and simple in stage set up, imagery free, taking barely a gander at the brother’s poppier collection and home to a full-on , heady, thrusting rave.
Tonight, like the pair’s last Dublin appearance at The Academy, is very much the latter. A post-midnight start time makes perfect sense for a show like this, and a collectively inebriated, exhilarated crowd soon find themselves bouncing along to subtly blended samples from the lesser-known corners of the likes of The Chemical Brothers and Boys Noize back catalogues. There are dozens and dozens of directions here, and we’d be lying if we said we could big out more than a third of them, but with such a consistent vibe, that’s hardly the point.
2ManyDJs are nothing if not compulsive in their morphing rhythmic flow, but what often impresses is the way they blend their own recognizable remixes into the extended whole. Boys Noize (clearly a favourite of the pair as they’re the stand out mixed artist for us, with Ecstasy One For Me also prominent) see their Erol Alkan paired effort Lemonade mashed into Mumbai Science’s Ancova, while a weave of static helps blend the less obvious fusions. Blur’s Boys & Girls finds itself tagged on, for example, to the chunkiest of laser-pulsing rhythms, with only that chorus poking through the gaps.
As for the real mammy-pleasers, they really are spaced out and leftfield today. A raucous minute or two of Nirvana as the brothers snap photos of a euphoric close are about as obvious as we get; if we were to pick holes in the current set up, they lie in the slightly repetitive feel, a general sense that the entire set is built around the same pace and tone throughout, simply mashed and merged in differing ways. It might not be as vividly imaginative as 2ManyDJs have occasionally proven to be. There’s little here in terms of out of the blue fusion that can hold a candle to the awfully dubbed Smells Like Teen Booty Nirvana vs. Destiny’s Child effort of a few years ago. For dance-loving purists, though, this is all out, chaotic, pulsing beauty.
This wouldn’t prove much of a crowd pleaser for those more of the ‘Radio Soulwax Volume 2’ persuasion, but the truth is the pairing have moved on a good deal since their most commercially successful – and pop-propelled – days, and are playing to their own euphoric audiences, so this is probably nearer the mark anyway. For us, it doesn’t have the rapture of the exceptional, rave-lite pop mixes they tend to turn out at festivals, but the sheer quality of the musical knotting and looping is a sight that just doesn’t get old.