Redlight has been making significantly large waves in the UK club scene in the first part of the 2010s, so it’s only fitting that, at the height of his popularity, he is at long last summoned to the clubs of fabulous Exeter. It’s curious that this is the Bristolian’s first ever visit to Exeter, Bristol’s pubescent, house-binging younger cousin. Even more curious still is the fact that house fanatics are having to trek up the hill to watch him at the Lemmy; it would surely be more fitting for a hit-maker of this calibre to spend his first foray into the banks of the Exe in the Phoenix or another club with a proven record of hosting house acts successfully. Though no matter – circumstance won’t stop die-hard and casual fans alike from flocking to Redlight like proper 9TS babies.
It is apparent from the moment you enter that this is the sell-out show that should have been but never was; the crowd is thinly spread, only in groups of 3 or 4 when away from the bar or the very front of the stage. Woz, a talented up-and-coming DJ, has seemingly been given very little to work with. The problem may lie in the venue, which is evidently not performance-oriented. Another possible cause for this anomaly may be that he has been put on too early. From my experience at Cavern, Phoenix, and Cellar Door, it is common practice (nay, common courtesy for any self-respecting raver) to arrive no earlier than 10:30-11pm to a big name event. And at the Lemmy, it’s usually straight to the bar as soon as you arrive to forget the fact you’re at the Lemmy – leaving Woz to play half his set to a nonchalant and sober crowd. One last explanation for the fact that this event hadn’t sold out could simply be the date this event had taken place – after the Saturday post-exam blowout, the Monday welcome-back Mosaic and, very probably, the why-not Cheesy Tuesday – Wednesday is certainly not the night of choice for this.
All that having been said, the quality of the acts was indisputable. Woz enjoyed a last-minute surge in popularity, nicely segueing into Redlight’s eclectic yet swelling sound. One person I approached after the gig told me “I thought it was a solid set, he played a good variety of his own songs as well as some classics and read the crowd well,” indicating that he shaped his set to suit any shortcomings the venue may have had, as one would expect from a DJ this well-acquainted with the charts.
Alas, though the quality of the music is a very significant saving grace, the fiasco of stage-timings came back to mar fans’ expectations of the event. Redlight was expected to play from 12-2am but finished at 1am, leaving resident DJs Odd & Topick to finish the night. Odd & Topick must be commended for providing the crowd with an energetic home-sprint, punctuated by decent crowd-pleasers – all despite stepping in at the last minute. Yet this was an indefensible managerial fuck-up about which many people will have undoubtedly been disappointed. UpAndComing should take comfort in the fact that this was no ‘Westpoint Arena SSB’-scale cataclysm and that people had a generally good time overall. But it didn’t reach its potential, so I advise prudence and transparency when booking the next big headliner. Otherwise, one may fall into the field of false advertising, and the abyss that is public mistrust and half-empty nights.