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:: Dirty Vegas ::
12 March 2003 / Academy 2 / Manchester
By Dave Himelfield

Cheese is something that transcends all geographical, subcultural and stylistic boundaries. Cheese is a product that’s as transnationally recognisable as Coca Cola. It’s a language common to everybody and like Coca Cola, it’s enjoyed by almost but not everyone. For anti-capitalists and global sceptics, it stands for the worst kind of spoon-fed imperialist culture. And of course, there are those that simply don’t like the taste. Now, whether you’re a dance music guru or not you’d be almost certain to recognise some pretty transcultural tastes and vapours floating about tonight.

Dirty Vegas are…(well, you can guess)…and this isn’t a bad thing…at least, not all of the time. When spectators aren’t understandably conversing through some of the set’s more insipid moments there’s an intermittently flowing, up-for-it vibe. Pleasantly laidback rhythms and infectious sub bass grooves topped with sun-drenched atmospherics help warm the proceedings up to the point where one can forgive trite cries of “that’s what keeps me alive, ooh yeah…etc.” However, there are plenty of other pseudo-soul moments set to predictable blandness that make it increasingly difficult to stave off ugly mundane images of Galaxy 102. The desire to cry out “Euphoric Ibiza Compilation!” suddenly becomes increasingly pressing.

Dirty Vegas have made some attempt to straddle stylistic boundaries though exploration of either side of the fence seems rather shallow. Too often do uncommitted guitars and a rather generic ambience give off the impression of a karaoke Happy Mondays on vacation. The penultimate track is an aptly electrified encore but it’s sadly eclipsed by a finale that is ordinary (spelt in Times New Bog Standard) leaving a grating, unsatisfied taste. The band quickly lock-on to numerous dropping faces and transform such non-descript noodlings into “The Wall” somewhat re-galvanising the proceedings. However, the fact that is takes a Pink Floyd cover to restore any sort of positive vibe indicates something of a moral defeat. It’s also a fitting final address for an agreeable yet rather forgettable set.

Dirty Vegas Website

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