Ah, nothing withers you quicker than the sight of hundreds of 16-19 year-olds gathering to celebrate the music of Duke Dumont. As twentysomethings we feel sufficiently uncomfortable but were at least expecting a warm, accepting wall of commercial bangers from the man behind a handful of the biggest songs to leave the UK in the last couple of years.
Sadly, this isn’t really what we received from The Giver. After being welcomed with a short-lived dive into Dumont’s most notable hits within the first ten minutes, we’re then force-fed try-hard ambient music that doesn’t seem to captivate anyone around us. It’s a misstep that unfortunately results in a bit of an audience disconnect for the evening. The classic songs from Dumont – Need U (100%), Won’t Look Back – no longer have the shiny exterior, the new car smell that gives pop music its novelty, so there aren’t many peaks of interest on stage for us as there are behind the bar.
It might seem an odd thing to say for someone like Duke Dumont, but one does come away admiring the lighting around the performance. Lasers weave in and out of the audience, while smoke is used to create a wall of colour before Dumont, all perfectly in sync with the sounds. It feels like synaesthesia, and an aptly-judged element to a show essentially based around a man standing quite still.
But a distinct lack of atmosphere obviously doesn’t stop most of the paying crowd moving, albeit half-heartedly. They very much deserve the last hurrah Dumont gives them, turning the music down before dropping his summer jam I Got U with rainbow lights and confetti cannons. For us, though? Too little too late, and an experience we can’t say you need 100%.