To celebrate 50 years of the Camden rock ‘n’ roll venue, Dingwalls put on a series of gigs which included a rare performance by the Mancunian acid house pioneers, 808 State. With founding member Graham Massey at their helm, the group began on opening chart hit, ‘In Yer Face’; a single from 1991 studio album ‘ex:el’, with its oriental synthscape and industrial techno, their physical drummer making them standout from other artists’ live performances.

They moved into ‘Technocity’; its quick-fire techno EBM beats saw a hail of digital keys and scaling synths before it transformed into an interlude of coldwave ambience. Throughout the set, there were showers of colourful laser effects and strobe lighting. Massey then performed the sweet tones of the sopranino saxophone for chart topping single ‘Pacific’ from their 1989 studio album ‘90’, with its clattering jungle theme and allso the tribal techno of ‘Ujala’; its reoccurring sample vocal finishing on hammering chimes of hard hitting electronics. Massey also played warm tones of acoustic guitar in ‘Plan 9’.

808 State finished their show on the explosive house music of ‘Astrakhan’ and single ‘Cübik’, with Massey now on electric guitar playing estranged notes and noise against the revving beats of the tracks. They returned for an encore of the percussive ‘Bataglia’, from studio album ‘Initial Granada Report’, featuring Massey’s guitar feedback.

13/10/23: 808 State @ Dingwalls, London.

Photos © Ayisha Khan.

© Ayisha Khan.