Jacques Greene & Koreless @ La Belle Angele, 21 May
The pairing of LuckyMe compadres Jacques Greene and Koreless, in one of Edinburgh’s most dynamic new spaces, was never going to be anything short of exceptional. Both Greene and Koreless reside firmly as artists pivotal to the Sneaky Pete’s extended family, although this marked the latter’s first appearance in the capital in over two and a half years.
Booking La Belle Angele, a venue six times bigger than the narrow walls of Sneaky’s, may have at first seemed a tad ambitious. Yet when walking in to the breathtaking dramatics of a Koreless live set, and a steady sea of dancers stretching back to first bar, all previous aspersions are immediately cast aside.
Chopping up a selection of complementary vocal loops throughout the set, Koreless guides the crowd on a journey through warming dubstep, downtempo house, and trip-hop infused beats. Expertly woven together with pitch black lighting, broken only by the occasional sheer strobe-light, the atmosphere is already set for peak hour – which is lucky as it’s nearing 1am. A track like Sun is arguably made for euphoric, darkened moments such as the one which emerges in the closing half of the set. Pitching down the original track ever so slightly for good measure, this rendition's refreshingly impromptu feel provides a welcome element that is often lost in rigid, finely-tuned DJ sets. Climaxing with Away (scattered with signatory vocal melodies) seems a fitting way to hand over to Greene after what by many could be viewed as the centrepiece performance of the night.
Firmly taking the reigns with a hammering selection of 4/4, Greene wastes no time with gradual intros. Even taking to the mic to briefly acquaint himself with the crowd (Canadian MC-ing comes in the form of a “how you all doing guys?”), before taking things right back to Caledonia with Denis Sulta’s LA Ruffgarden, which resides powerfully within La Belle’s infamous sound system. With such a wealthy back catalogue of R'n'B-infused house to choose from, it's only a matter of time before one of Greene’s own productions make their way onto the ones and twos. His remix of Ciara’s Body Party is one of the first to do so, instantly adding a more emotive tone to the night. Continuing to revel in the rare common ground between the latter two genres, his sharpened take of Drake’s wailing Know Yourself is next up, complete with a mouthed rendition from Greene himself.
Gracefully genre-hopping to the realms of electro-techno, TWR72’s acidic melter Future Tool makes for a drastic, but gratifying contrast from Drizzy’s whining tones. Pautrice Baumel’s rigid yet climactic Roar builds on this further, before the bouncers make their way to the side of the stage and signify that 3am is looming. It’s tracks like No Excuse and his collaboration with How To Dress Well, On Your Side, where stirring vocals sit side-by-side with thawed, dance-ready rhythms, that really set Jacques Greene aside from the rest of the bunch. It’d seem only fitting to end on two such signatory tracks, alongside a sequence of atmospheric synth-y numbers to truly define what makes a 'grand finale'.