Entering notorious South London rave enclave Corsica Studios to find the club resembling Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop on DMT hardly seemed a fitting backdrop for Philadelphia street-bass pioneer Starkey to make the live debut of his peerless debut long player Eat Drums And Black Holes.
Thankfully the B-Movie animatronics and visuals which had accompanied Brummie dubstepper Milanese’s live warm-up set were toned down to a minimum as Starkey took to the stage.
Mumbling that it was the first time he had played live in London for “a coupla years” and seeking refuge crouched low behind the comforting glow of his Mac and a pair of sequencers Starkey really need not have been so nervous.
From the first sub bass stab and synth swoop of LP opener “OK Luv” Strakey had the capacity crowd in the palm of his hand. While many would argue that dubstep and the fragmented axis of sounds that coalesce around the genre is best conveyed via the traditional DJ set Starkey makes a strong case to the contrary.
It doesn’t hurt that the material he is performing is so strong. Eat Drums And Black Holes is filled with riches: unique drum programming that swings and steps, Joker-esque saturated synths and of course deadly, deep sub bass that rattles the rib cage more than adequately.
While album tracks “Necksnap” and “Alienstyles” may have been dancefloor standouts for the raving crew it was the glacially tender “Spacecraft” which saw Starkey picking up the mic to recreate the track’s plaintive vocal refrain, truly melting hearts and taking the set from the special to the sublime.