Optimo @ Summerhall, 29 January

Legendary duo shine in a celebration of homegrown hits and fallen icons.

Live Review by Max Meres | 11 Feb 2016

For 13 years Optimo hosted their weekly Optimo Espacio night at Glasgow’s legendary Sub Club venue. Week in, week out, the duo of JD Twitch and JG Wilkes brought in an eclectic variety of guest bands and DJs, showcasing their seemingly endless knowledge of a multitude of genres. For one night only, thanks to the ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ team at Summerhall, Sub Club’s ex Sunday night residents now have the the vast depths of the Dissection Room to play with, alongside Edinburgh’s techno hardware purist Neil Landstrumm.

Arriving at the venue at around half 12, we’re welcomed by thunderous 909 kick drums, tinged with the influence of early 90s rave music, thanks to the analogue techno powerhouse that is Neil Landstrumm. Stood behind an impressive array of machinery, Landstrumm relentlessly pounds out build up after build up to a nearly full Dissection Room and the night’s potential is seems clear. As the final drabs of punters continue to make their way up the stairs and onto the dancefloor, the intensity reaches an all time high.

The younger clubbers among us will sadly never have experienced the sweaty realms of Edinburgh’s mythical ‘Pure’ club night, where both Landstrumm and Twitch were regulars, but we suspect this is as good as a taste as any. Landstrumm continuously ups the ante to a packed out floor until 1am, when Optimo take to the stage once again.

JG Wilkes is first up, leading on from Landstrumm’s live set with an almost folk-esque acapella, before the rolling sounds of a kick drum take over into a steady 4/4 rhythm. Wilkes continues to wow the crowd with an assortment of acid and techno, before the euphoric tints of KiNK’s Pocket Piano come in, willing the last of the bar dwellers onto the dancefloor. At around 1:40, JD Twitch takes over, bringing in the catchy, wholly melodic forthcoming Denis Sulta release Nein Fortinate, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Not long after this, Twitch precedes to pay homage to the late David Bowie with Let’s Dance. At this point, with the lights on and a sea of hands in the air, it’s not quite clear how he can follow this, although Sulta’s LA Ruffgarden proves to be  a more than suitable choice. With the entire crowd under his thumb, Twitch precedes to drop in Debbie Jacobs’ Don’t You Want My Love, resulting in a full room sing-along to the 1979 cult classic.

For the final hour, Twitch continues to prove why he’s regarded by so many as one of the scene’s pioneering selectors, dropping tribal-tinted gems such as Midland’s Safi, released on their Autonomous Africa imprint, and Dubtribe Sound System’s Equitreal. However, it’s the Glaswegian releases closer to home that really steal the show, with the funk-infested sounds of Atlus (AKA Denis Sulta) Gum, alongside Sulta’s anthemic It’s Only Real, resulting in a sea of fists pumping simultaneously around the Dissection Room.

Once again paying tribute to a fallen hero, Twitch mixes in the vocals of Motörhead’s Ace Of Spades above a climatic synth number, before allowing the original to play out in its entirety for the final track of the night, creating a chaotic mosh pit covering most of the dancefloor. Revered tastemakers such as Twitch and Wilkes made the weekly Optimo night go down in Glaswegian clubbing history, and it was nothing short of a pleasure to see them take it east to the capital.