DJ Format and Abdominal – The Venue, Derby: live review

I need to come clean. I already have vested interest in the DJ Format and Abdominal gig seeing as my bands were the support. So lets get that out of the way first: The In-Here Brothers were brilliant. Two lovely, good looking, bearded and charming chaps playing ’90’s dance music (superbly I may add) on acoustic guitars. It was forty-five minutes of pure guilty pleasures. How we’ve not been asked to play Glastonbury off the back of this show, I’ll never know.

DJ Format and Abdominal by Ian Cudmore at IC Things Photography

In all honestly folks, regardless of how well we played, we were always going to be upstaged by the main act. Just as the crowd had come to terms with what the hell they had just witnessed from the support band, up pops DJ Format behind his decks. He knows what he is about to do; the crowd know what he is about to do. And then it happens.

His crossover mix style of soul, funk and hip-hop instantly has the crowd bobbing their heads. Some people instantly get their dancing shoes on. And believe me, DJ Format makes you want to dance, even if you don’t know how. He’s infectious and relentless and after a couple of cold ones I had even forgotten how weird our opening support set was.

After ten or fifteen minutes of tracks to get you warmed up, DJ Format calls up his partner in crime, Abdominal. These two have been collaborating for well over 10 years now, and you could tell that they knew each other’s game inside out. He ushers the crowd closer and they happily oblige. Even high-fiving people letting loose in the audience. These guys were cool. And they made you want to be cool too.

Playing a mix of new tunes (chunes?) and older material, they gave something for new and old fans a like. Weaving stories in the breaks about the last time the visited Derby or how they began working together. Abdominal’s lyrics and heavy Canadian accent filling the gaps between Formats beats.

Now I had never seen nor heard of these guys before and without doubt they had never heard of us, but before the show they were talkative, welcoming and interested in what we do. And to be fair did give us a generous shout out. Unquestionably, I went home more of a fan of their work then they did of ours. Everything about the show just screamed fun and inclusion. Even if you didn’t know the tracks or breaks people still wanted to dance with you. Even if you didn’t know the lyrics, people shouted them to you. Every face I saw had a smile. People had travelled from far strange distant lands (Stoke, Leicester) to see this show and they were not disappointed.

By the end of their set, I was drunk, I was happy and I was danced out. Just the way it should be done. If you get the chance, even if you’re not keen on hip-hop, then I would still recommend going to see these guys. Oh, and The In-Here Brothers too.

Images by Ian Cudmore at IC Things Photography

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