LIVE REVIEW – Calvin Harris at Oceana

Calvin Harris came to town with his USB stick full of ‘choonz’.

A banging whilst somehow underwhelming performance, made up for by an electric atmosphere as Scotland’s favourite/only cultural export returns to Southampton.

What’s the difference between Calvin Harris and your average club DJ? £10.50 plus booking fees. Now, maybe its because I had someone else’s vom on my shoes by the end of the night, or maybe it’s because I’ve never fallen for Oceana’s ‘strip-mall nightclub’ chic, but I found Harris to be nothing amazing. Sure, to the surprise of many he whipped out of some his own tunes, (‘Feel So Close” and “Bounce”) and one or two of his Swedish House Mafia and Skrillex mixes were epic, but it all felt a little bit 2009 for my personal tastes. He ain’t no Nero. He can’t shine a light to Deadmau5. Here’s the thing, though: that’s probably my negative hindsight/hangover talking. The crowd was lapping him up like they were lapping up Asda-brand vodka just hours before.

It was hard not to lose yourself in the atmosphere especially as he unleashed bass-laden drop after drop. Soon, I along with everyone else was Bounce-ing along to his single-heavy playlist.  His set was very much filled with all the big anthems that have been dominating house in 2011 – but also a lot of tunes that have been floating for a while. La Fuente’s remix of Benassi’s Satisfaction comes to mind; old enough to feel out-of-place, but good enough that few would have cared.

It's the return of the crappy camera! Marvel at the grainyness!

In addition, the one saving grace of Oceana is that it inexplicably seems to be the only club in Southampton with good air-con. It has to be said, the fact that you don’t have to leave the venue drenched in sweat definitely helps you enjoy yourself more. One strange side note was the fact that he started really early, at 11 pm, having supposed to start at 1.30 in the morning. Whether this means that Oceana’s resident DJ finally got that crack-induced stroke he’s been heading for, or simply a last minute scheduling change – this humble columnist knows not.

This alteration didn’t seem to impact his set much, (but given that his job is basically to hit ‘play’ on his Macbook and then make sure  the song changes are smooth that’s hardly surprising). From what I’ve heard at last year’s event he was much the same – entertaining, accomplished and still the third tallest musician in electro-pop. Worth my £10.50? Probably, if only not because of the hangover.