On Thursday, I had the pleasure of catching one of my favorite acts play at Kingdom in Austin. Delta Heavy is a UK based duo who trade in drum and bass and dubstep. After years of touring, they put out their debut LP, Paradise Lost, on RAM Records last year.
I had high expectations for this show based on my previous experiences with these guys. I first caught them at Electric Zoo festival in New York in 2012, where despite combatting technical difficulties, they threw down a wicked set in one of the riverside stages. When I saw them the second time, in 2014, they opened for Sub Focus at the Regency Ballroom – and blew his set out of the water. That was one of the best shows I have ever been to: they kept me thrashing to the music for the entire set, barely letting up for a minute to let me catch my breath.
Kingdom turned out to be a great venue for Delta Heavy. The Thursday night show drew about 100 people, all of whom were psyched and ready to get down to some filthy bass music. I prefer smaller shows like this at Kingdom because it gives you room to rage with your friends without having to worry about getting in other people’s personal space. The crowd who showed up was exactly what you could hope for – diverse, excited, and ready to work that dance floor. As the opener DJ laid out a high-energy drum and bass set sprinkled with throwback favorites like “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine and Madeon‘s remix of Martin Solveig’s “The Night Out”, the crowd kept the energy up and the good vibes flowing, setting the mood for a fantastic night.
When Ben Hall from Delta Heavy took the stage around 12:30, you could feel the energy in the room amp up another notch. He kicked things off with a strong serving of drum and bass, and quickly dispatched with their classic remix of Nero’s “Must Be the Feeling” – possibly their best known song, even five years after its release. Keeping it in drum and bass territory for a while, Ben rolled out songs from The Prototypes (“Pop it Off”), Metrik (“Worldwide”), Zomboy (“Like a Bitch”), and of course, Skrillex (“Ragga Bomb”). From their own catalog, Ben played “Bar Fight”, “Kill Room”, and a bootleg of Zhu’s “Faded”, among other tunes.
About an hour into the set, he brought the tempo way down, making space for Flume’s “Say It” as well as DJ Snake’s “Propaganda.” At this point, I felt that the set started to lose focus. Between the shifting tempos and beat, some of the energy in the room seemed to burn off, and thanks to a few too many breaks, my thoughts started to drift away from the dance floor.
Nevertheless, I came home glowing from the set (and, no doubt, the endorphins from a hard workout on the dance floor). Delta Heavy remains high on my list of favorite DJs, and I’ll definitely be catching them again as soon as I get the chance.