2manyDJs have been a highlight of many people’s dance music collection since the launch of As Heard on Radio Soulwax pt. 2 back in 2003. A collaboration between the Dewaele brothers, both members of Belgique rock band Soulwax, 2manyDJs struck out with a eclectic pop mash-up album that has stood the test of time. Sadly, the duo’s live shows will not.

In 1998, when touring with their Soulwax album Much Against Everyone’s Advice, the Dewaele brothers started to perform as DJs at their own after-shows as ‘The Flying Dewaele Brothers’. It became a successful act in its own right. Flemish main alternative music station, Studio Brussel, asked them to become resident DJs for the show “Hang the DJs”. It was there that the brothers made their first real mash-ups.

Since then 2manyDJs have become infamous for their ability to create hour-long sets of familiar music in entirely new forms. It was with this expectation that KOKO, Camden, London, saw a long entry line of anticipation on Friday, 6th May, 2022. 2manyDJs were to take to the stage and deliver us a lengthy set of dancefloor mash-ups. Plans to bring down the house with familiar pop tunes mixed without pretense or padding. Or at least, so we thought.

2manyDJs KOKO, Camden, May 2022

Beginning at around 11pm, the first DJ act to take the stage did so with grace. Bumbling through a mix of breaks and poorly placed drops, Irfane’s biggest response (and possibly that of the whole night) was when Blur’s Parklife was played for almost it’s entirety with no challenges.

Irfane tried to rally a crowd that was brimming to the edges of the dancefloor. Yet little movement could be seen beyond the enthusiasm of centre stage. By the time Breakbot took to the stage, it was clear the audience was getting impatient.

Much like 2manyDJs themselves, Breakbot has a fantastic reputation for taking well known tracks and putting an entirely new spin on them. However, this was not the artist’s intention for his Camden show. Instead, Breakbot followed Irfane in attempting to get the crowd going with context-less bass and drops. The stalls of several minutes between familial beats comprising solely of faceless bass were not pleasing the crowd.

By the time the headline act took the stage at 3:15am it was possible to march straight across the dancefloor without interruption. The crowd had shrunk to a few dozen people. Yet, still the vibe was one of shuffling rather than throwing shapes. 2manyDJs roared out of the stalls into their set and created an atmosphere of promise: finally the audience were going to get what they paid for. Finally, we were going to dance to some expertly mixed funk and pop.

2manyDJs KOKO, Camden, May 2022

Sadly, even the headline act could not cash the cheques that their reputation had written. In just two instances – dropping Daft Punk and Outkast – did 2manyDJs look as if they might deliver on that promise. One which the venue itself had been expecting:

“Belgian dance maestros, David and Stephen Dewaele, better known as 2ManyDJs, come to KOKO for a career (and genre) spanning DJ set of remixes and mashups guaranteed to get your feet moving!”

KOKO, Songkick

At no point did it feel like this set delivered on the promise of 2manyDJs’ career. At no point was it felt that the mashups ‘guaranteed’ to get the audience dancing were being offered. Perhaps it’s time for pop mashup artists to read their audience, and give the paying fans what they actually want? Pop mashups.

Categories: Music