One of the central elements that made us fall in love with DARKSIDE’s full-length last year was its succinctness. As an LP, it created a universe that was polished and compact with no feeling of filler or padding. This superhuman ability to effortlessly make sound in an almost scientific, over-measured manner is one that is shared across ‘Psychic’ and the tour that followed it. While there were moments that gave off a bit of a 4-dates-left vibe, the DARKSIDE live experience is one that shares all the spectacular triumphs of the LP; precision, tightness and an alien level of smoothness.
Jaar and Harrington were stood either said of a giant two-way mirror resembling the glassy spherical ball on the album cover. When the twitchy beats would finally appear after throbs of perfectly placed chaos, the mirror would turn and stretch the light across the room in one of the most engaging live show additions we’ve seen in a while. The duo were opening up Manchester’s FutureEverything festival which prides itself on forward-thinking live experiences. This was the best possible way to open proceedings. When Jaar’s synthesised whimpers or Harrington’s sidestepping guitar riffs would climb out of the abyss, they’d enter a sea of crisscrossing light. Tunes like ‘Freak Go Home’ and ‘Heart’ manage to muscle through the noise and sound just as exact and impeccable here as they did on record. Their improvisational foundations seem to get sidelined a bit at this show. There are moments where they stray away from the record’s path but they never feel like they are ad-libbing. Every step is planned, every move is calculated and every sound is exactly where it should be.
The lights flick between cave-like and heavenly every other song and as the mirror spins the spotlight away from Jaar as he delivers the ominous vocal from ‘Paper Trails’ it seems like his almost maniacal attention to detail knows no bounds. As his Other People imprint continues to build momentum and the buzz surrounding his work with Harrington seems as strong as ever, his status as an electronic-mastermind could reach unforeseen levels. If the DARKSIDE live experience is anything to go by, we will keep hearing things we have never heard before. And on the off-chance that we get to see them- they will be played out in a totally new fashion.
Words: Josie ‘JR’ Roberts