For the next two months Skream will be providing nightlong DJ sets as his ‘Open to Close’ parties return across the UK and parts of the US. As one of the early innovators of dubstep, Oliver Dene Jones, known as Skream, continues to distance himself from the dubstep genre to focus on techno, house and disco. The Leeds iteration of the ‘Open to Close’ party was at The Warehouse.
With DJs like Skream, who’s knowledge and use of various genres is so wide ranging, you just can't really predict what type of music they will be presented with. But beneath the various styles, the rigid kick drum of the techno beat that greeted us as we crossed the threshold relentlessly pounded on. The infrequent moments when the beat morphed into deep and Chicago house were great and provided respite from the tech heavy set. Techno often faces accusations of being boring, and the key to disguising its repetitive nature is to make whatever is above the beat feel as if it is leading you somewhere. It would have been great to see Skream play a set that flexed his rich knowledge of a series of genres.
While Skream achieved this within certain mixes, the sense of a macro journey or structure was lacking, which would have benefited and perhaps provided cohesion across the all-night set. Having said that, there were some amazing moments. Seeing Skream mix my favourite track of his, ‘This Is It’, was definitely a high point. As was his ingenious techno inflected version of Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow’, a combination that worked wonders in Skream’s hands. Fans recognised his recent euphoric release ‘Song for Olivia’, and other more traditional disco mixes were also strong, but few and far between until around 4.30am. Some had anticipated dubstep, some had awaited a wider range of styles, but for those who feed off the constant return of the techno thud, it was a delight.