Kölsch @ Barrowland Ballroom, 13 October

Live Review by Claire Francis | 31 Oct 2016
  • Kölsch @ Barrowland Ballroom, 13 October

With the Red Bull Music Academy UK Tour landing in Glasgow for the second consecutive year, anticipation is high after last year's debut outing that featured appearances from the likes of Optimo, Dimitri From Paris and Prins Thomas. This time around we're treated ti another exciting series of shows, lectures and workshops, with many of the events in quirky spaces and unexpected locations. Case in point – tonight's show, which sees Kompakt Records mogul Kölsch kicking off the tour at the iconic Barrowland Ballowroom.

Matching a DJ of Kölsch's reputation to a venue of equally grand stature was certainly a stroke of promotional genius, and though not packed to the rafters the ballroom hums with high spirits. Red Bull have taken over the bar with a range of drink and cocktail options, some of which are a challenge to order with a straight face ("three Tropical Frat Parties, thanks"). Before the great Dane takes to the podium, skittish beats, whiffs of grime and drum n' bass from Nightwave keep that frat party vibe alive. The Slovenian-born Maya Medvesek now calls Glasgow home, and after being selected for Red Bull Music Academy’s session in Madrid back in 2011, she has become something of a fixture on the circuit, popping up at last year's Sub Hub event alongside Harri & Domenic and Optimo.

Clad in black, with his trademark fedora holding fast despite his energetic stage moves, Kolsch starts off loose and trancey, dipping straight into a warm – dare we say it – almost EDM zone. His live set is expansive, though it's surprisingly to see such muted visuals given the scope the Barrowlands offers. With an after-party scheduled at Sub Club, one can't help but sense that he's holding his heavier fare in reserve.

Instead, lots of handclaps issue forth from the big man, pausing between songs to rile up the crowd. We're only 20 minutes in and already the 'here we fucking go' chant starts up, with Kölsch ladling out huge, crowd-pleasing drops amidst reliable 4/4 beats. It's a performance that veers somewhat towards style over substance, but nonetheless, the euphoria-charged dancers amass to give those sprung floorboards a solid Thursday night workout.