Charleston Scene: Shpongle 4.13.10

There was high anticipation for the Shpongle show at the Pour House. So much so that it sold out. I myself almost missed out but luckily there were 100 tickets re released on Etix and another 100 released at the door. I actually bought mine on my break from work using my phone. Success! Announced last minute was M.O. Theory opening up the show. A local Charleston DJ/producer also of Chronicles of The Landsquid. However, John Pericles, who goes by simply PERICLES, was actually on stage (He’s also involved with Landsquid).

I arrived at about 11 and was surprised that the line wasn’t wrapped around the building like most sold out shows. The structure was pulsating with bass from Pericles’ fingertips. There was a smaller crowd inside but mostly kids zoning out or pumping their fists to the beat. Not really impressed, I got a beer and went outside to smoke a cigarette and find some friends.

The Charleston Pour House is a small venue. Capacity inside is maybe 500 and the back deck area (complete with bar) can hold up to about 250. Or so I’m told. Now pack this place out and it’s not enjoyable at all. Especially when it’s filled with a bunch of tweaker kids. They were ridiculously rude and pretty hard to deal with. There was also a huge amount of under-agers (a fair amount were thrown out). It was an 18+ show. I was asked for cigarette upon cigarette, alcohol, and every drug under the sun. If I hadn’t been looking forward to this show I probably would have left.

Now of course this wasn’t a full on Shpongle show, just a Simon Posford DJ set. As most of their shows are. He finally went on at about 11:45 to a crowd that was definitely ready. A large screen the length of the stage was set up behind him displaying pretty crazy visuals. I probably would have enjoyed them a lot more had I not just been drinking beer. His gear was also almost the length of the stage with him dead center.

The music started slow, but it didn’t take him long to get everyone moving. And once he did, the majority never stopped. It was all over the place. Heavy in bass and middle eastern rhythms, he also brought in elements that resembled latin and tribal influence. Parts of the show were dark, gritty, and almost sinister. While the next was funky and jazzy and had everyone bouncing off each other. It didn’t take me long to realize that what I was watching, what I paid $20 to see, was him playing CD’s and occasionally entertaining the crowd with a mildly comedic face or a random dance twirling a disc on his finger. Don’t get me wrong, the music was outstanding. But still disappointing. Maybe because I wasn’t on drugs? Maybe I was expecting too much?

Not too far into the show a friend of mine tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I think I enjoy this more if I keep my eyes closed.” I agreed. Posford played straight up until about 1:30 (Bars close at 2 in Charleston) without taking a break. It eventually became too crowded to move at all inside and I actually spent most of the rest of the show on the deck where you can hear the music perfectly and even see the show through televisions. All in all, I left with mixed feelings. My ears were happy but my dancing toes and wallet were not. Better luck next time.

-Beckie Hodges


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