Published May 30, 2015Since the opening of MUTEK on Wednesday, the one name that kept popping up in conversations — both personal and overheard — was that of Mancunian producer Andy Stott. Performing on the opening night of the Red Bull Music Academy-presented MÉTROPOLIS events series, where the atmosphere is less cerebral and more physical, there was a hum of excitement permeating the crowd. And with the Métropolis decked out with extensive rigging supporting a series of modular lighting and nine large backing digital screens, expectations were resolutely and understandably high.
Unfortunately those expectations would soon be dashed. With so much at his disposal, this MUTEK veteran should know what has come to be expected of performances at this festival, and with a lineup of heavy it was essential to make an impression. Instead, the performance was the definition of phoning it in, with Stott's hands squarely by his side for most of the set, instead spending most of his time bobbing his head behind his laptop. The rigs, the lighting, the screens: none of them were used, with the beams of light emitting from the rigs simply flickered lazily along to the music. And while a few members of the crowd were particularly vocal, most were just having loud conversations.
What's most disappointing is that the material itself warrants a great performance. The tracks themselves were great, and I can only imaging how they could have come alive if Stott has made use of all the Métropolis has to offer. Meanwhile texts and tweets were proliferating about Rival Consoles' set over at the MAC, and in a festival where talent and innovation abound, there's no time to waste on subpar performances — so off to the MAC I ran.