Music / Review

What we learned watching Jon Hopkins live

The acclaimed DJ is preparing to take to London's O2 Empire as part of the War Child series.

With the release of the sublime Singularity earlier this year, already acclaimed DJ Jon Hopkins cemented his status as an experimental electronic pioneer. The record, a mesmerising blend of heavy bass beats and minimalist euphoria, stepped over the confines of the often underground genre, resonating with a far broader range of music fans. This appreciation, and ultimately popularity, has led Hopkins to London’s O2 Academy Brixton for two sold out nights, only a couple of weeks before he returns to the capital for an appearance on behalf of the charity War Child at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

With the undisputed buzz ever-growing, here’s what we learned from catching Jon Hopkins live.


Let the music envelop you

It’s pure transcendence as Jon Hopkins appears on stage at the packed out O2 Academy Brixton and launches into the title track from his 2018 album release. Singularity sets the stage for things to come, the evening gliding through hard-hitting house and beautifully reserved electronic tones. Unsurprisingly, the audience are lost in the music. Onlookers are split into two factions, those unapologetically dancing to the arhythmic beats and those in obvious awe, stood somewhat more still yet equally as taken by the unconventional music emerging from the stage. Between all there’s a collective appreciation, and a shared joy.

There’s plenty to see too

Jon himself remains firmly planted behind the massive DJ decks on stage, clearly focussed on making sure the right sounds are blasted out of the venue’s powerful system. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for the eyes. Dancers, complete with equally mesmerising light sticks (and we mean impressive structures, not the cheap ones that dominated ’90s raves), take to the front of the stage for much of the performance. More mesmerising however is the light show, from strobes to lasers to everything in between. At one point the entire venue is projected into space, and it’s nothing short of perfect.

It’s all artistry

As Jon Hopkins’ music takes artistic turns, clearly playing with the norms of the electronic scene and pushing against convention, so does the vast backdrop. In line with the complimenting music videos for the single releases from Singularity, the stage is alight with cartoonish tales of exploration. It’s as vast and sprawling as the music itself, and just as enticing as the transportive tones.

An all out delight for the senses

It doesn’t just end there. The music is loud enough to be truly palpable; fans can feel the powerful beats reverberate through their body. The music is in equal measures ethereal and claustrophobic, yet all the while euphoric. The light show is beautiful. Together they combine for a true delight for the senses, whether you’re watching the stage in amazement or having a good ol’ dance with your pals. Jon Hopkins creates a world like no other.


 

Jon Hopkins arrives at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the 25 November 2018, forming part of a trio of very special shows in aid of War Child.

Here is that schedule in full:

25 November 2018 – Jon Hopkins (LIVE), Alexis Taylor (LIVE), George Fitzgerald (DJ)
26 November 2018 – Tom Misch & Friends + Special guests
27 November 2018 – Everything Everything, Gwenno, Audiobooks

Tickets for Jon Hopkins at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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