Live Review: Shapes x Bloc present The Masked Ball with Omar-S & DJ Bone


It’s not often that a last minute in-house reshuffle makes a night’s running order more cohesive, but in the case of Lakota on Saturday night, the closing of one of the rooms and the addition of Rahaan in the main room, did just that, although at the expense of shorter set times.

Lakota has always been an endearing mixture of grime and pleasant memories. The venue mostly hosts very raw, Bristol-based rave events, so it was quite the experience hearing Rahaan warm up the main room with truly gorgeous Chicago-sounding vocal deep house, along with some unquantised bassline-heavy disco before Omar-S stepped up.

Omar-S – real name Alex Omar Smith – rarely looks up from the turntables and isn’t usually one to play to the crowd, but on Saturday he seemed more open to this approach, not changing tack too much and playing it safe. It goes without saying he played a strong number of his own productions, namely ‘The Shit Baby’ and the fan favourite ‘Be Yoself’ mixed with an accapella of Bone Thugs N Harmony’s ‘Thuggish Ruggish Bone’. As well as some old ghetto house along the lines of Farley Funk’s ‘The Acid Life’. But, compared with his usual palette, his set lacked colour.


DJ Bone stepped up at 02:30 and the difference was immediately apparent, dropping Robert Hood’s 2013 insta-classic ‘Never Grow Old’ to ignite the room, before quickly blending into ‘Strings of Life’. Here he expertly chopped the sound during the string breaks, hammering them into the mix only at the end of each note, turning those strings of life into rough stabs. This kind of risk taking and direct injection of personality in the mix is massively refreshing compared to the flawless and transparent DJing that many have come to see as the only way to play; it’s always worth seeing DJ Bone for that reason alone.

It’s rare that Lakota is the venue of choice for such a high caliber line up of North American house DJs. Shapes brought a welcome change to the Bristol punters, a fond early 2016 memory and worthy warm up for Bloc festival. The promoters continue to demonstrate their fine taste of lineups, with the posters of the upcoming Shapes + An Evening With collaboration already teasing their June outing.


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