Hot Dub Time Machine

Review by Fred Fletch | 13 Aug 2013
  • Hot Dub Time Machine

If movies like Bill & Ted, Back to the Future and Twelve Monkeys have taught us anything, it’s that time-travel is wacky, comical fun. Hot Dub Time Machine is dance party journey through time, playing hit songs and remixes from 1945 right up to present day.

The trip is presented live and reactionary, accompanied by giant screens playing the original music videos and a cheesy thematic narrative. It’s a time-machine powered by dance, so of course New Kids On The Block is going to fuck it so hard, you need to jump start it by doing the running-man. It was a bit like Communism – it worked right up until the point that it didn’t. A smoothly executed process of trial and error with DJ Loud judging audiences' responses and adjusting the playlist accordingly. Under perfect circumstances, a sea of revellers, tightly choreographing the dance moves to Twist and Shout, tells the DJ ‘play more Motown.’ An awkward cluster-fuck of shuffling, neck injuries and apologies clearly says ‘play more Proclaimers’.

With over 7 decades of songs explored, the audience was kept on its toes by a mix of adrenaline, nostalgia and long suppressed memories of Jazzy Jeff. Generally the choices were spot-on; crowd pleasing classics, with the occasional *N Sync that sucked the time stream so hard, somewhere Justin Timberlake was screaming at his slowly vanishing hand. Some of the song choices were questionable; sure, music is subjective, but if someone thinks Funky Music by Wild Cherry melds seamlessly into Sweet Dreams by Eurhythmics, stay clear – that guy clearly wants to lay his space-eggs in your thorax.

It was quite rightfully a sell out show, since it was brilliantly executed. The Underbelly is a great venue for this sort of event, but with a maximum capacity of 400, the moment tickets sell out, you are going to be nipple to nipple with strangers for two and a half hours. It did and it was. Maybe I’m just getting old, but it’s hard to hammer-dance with conviction when your chin is in another dude’s mouth. The show was uncomfortably packed, leaving little room on the dance floor for anyone to move, let alone Disco. If I had a bucket list, ‘accidentally punching a girl in the face at the climax of the Ghostbusters theme’ would have absolutely been ticked.

The show promises to evolve, learning from each gig and tweaking it sufficiently to hopefully offer the perfect, relentless adventure through pop history. DJ Loud had so much energy, style and charisma, I began to suspect he was mostly made of CGI and very special episodes of Blossom. It was an awesome night, that deserves the acclaim it’s received during its world tour.

Despite the overcrowded mosh-like vibe, Hot Dub Time Machine embraced the joy of our musical pasts; fragmented, loud and exciting, like a kidnap victim’s memories. It’s an amazing trip into the past and back again without all the Hitler paradoxes and having to make out with your own mum. It rocked so hard, it left flaming Delorian marks on my heart.


Underbelly, 1-25 Aug, 00:15, £12.50/£11.50