First Up, Roddy’s review: Billed as the “world’s first time-travelling dance party”, Hot Dub Time Machine was the hottest show of Fresher’s Week. Literally.
I saw Hot Dub at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer – it was so incredible that I bought tickets for the following night as soon as I woke up the next day.When I saw they’d been added to the Freshers line-up, I was singing the praises of Leon Rourke (our new DoES) through the streets. The afternoon of the event, the whole of St Andrews seemed as keen as I was; everyone on Facebook was desperately trying to source a ticket to the sold-out show.
The crowd started to filter in around 11. People milled around as a huge countdown projected onto the stage, anticipating DJ Tom Loud’s entrance at the stroke of midnight. Starting in the 1950s, the Aussie DJ took Venue 1 on an audio-visual trip through the decades; each successive song and accompanying video created an ever-louder cheer from the students below him.DJ Loud changed and adapted his playlist to match the reaction of the thronging sweaty mass of bodies before him, keeping the crowd on their feet and dancing furiously, with the Venue 1 becoming uncomfortably hot at points. Upon our arrival in 2002, he played “one for the crowd” – Nelly’s ‘Hot In Here’ – and then later, and ironically, Frozen‘s ‘Let It Go’.
Half the guys were topless, and everyone was dripping in sweat, not least the DJ; after the show he posted a video on Facebook squeezing what looked to be about a pint of sweat out of his t-shirt, saying that we “set the record for the hottest gig ever.”Venue 1 was a sauna, with a hot and sweaty crowd that couldn’t drag itself away. The girl dancing next to me summed it up best, as I heard her say to her friend, “ughh it’s SO hot in here. Let’s go outsi-AHHH OH MY GOD BRITNEY!”.
Hot Dub truly lived up to its name – the gig was hot, it was sweaty, and it was amazing.
And now Alex MacKay’s assessment:
The sterling work of our new DoES (Leon O’Rourke) in organising this year’s Freshers’ Week has seen several high-profile acts sashay across the Venue 1 stage, including 8 Out of 10 Cats comedian Jon Richardson and the perennially upbeat Scouting For Girls. Saturday night boasted DJ Tom Loud, an Australian disc spinner who has achieved staggering success annually at each Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his megamix party show, Hot Dub Time Machine. Despite a great consistency in this year’s Freshers’ line-up so far, I had reason to be wary after remembering that, in the same time slot last year, the Union brought us the abysmally misguided Rewind “boasting” two members of S Club 7.
Hot Dub’s structure, fortunately, happened to be one of the most ingenious and intrinsically crowd-pleasing conceits for a DJ set I have ever partaken in. The two hours covered the entire glut of chart music from 1954 to the present day, featuring a “greatest hit” for every single year of the last half-century. For sheer diversity of musical genre, Hot Dub is unparalleled; the progression of the night sometimes felt like a tutorial on the history of pop. From the opening burst of Bill Haley and the Comets’ ‘Rock Around The Clock’ to the final snarls of Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’, the atypical genres of each decade did Catherine wheels over, around and back through each other. The early rhythm and blues skiffle of 1950s trailblazers like Chubby Checker dovetailed wonderfully into the all too brief blaze of the Beatles in the 1960s, on into the disco and soul craze of the 1970s, containing an astute aside for Michael Jackson’s contributions to the last fifty years, before hurtling forwards into the new rap megastars of the last decade. The sheer breadth of the evening’s entertainment was fundamentally Fresher friendly, delivering a much sought balance of niche pop obscurities, sing-alongs and communal raving.
Engorged to venue capacity, the energy unleashed (unfortunately) seemed so dangerously tremendous – compounded by the complete desertion of the air conditioning – that the room quickly transformed into a sweat lodge of a magnitude never before experienced. As ‘Living on a Prayer’ folded and distorted into ‘Walking on Sunshine’, the revellers too must have felt like they were walking on the surface of our nearest celestial body. The re-familiarising of the 2014 party-goers with a sampling of 2014’s biggest hits to date in the set’s finale saw Disney’s newest anthem ‘Let It Go’ complementing a crowd-wide expulsion of tops.
The bleary and sweat-slick time travellers that emerged into contemporary St Andrews last night will be hard-pressed to find such an empirically excellent DJ night in their future. Loud’s disco DeLorean will be greatly missed in upcoming EDM-heavy events at the Union, but we can be grateful that this relentlessly optimistic Throwback Thursday extravaganza taught us what it meant to dance again.
Roddy McGlynn and Alex MacKay (respectively)
Photo Credit: hotdubtimemachine.com