Solo Concert-Going: John Talabot Shakes My Brain Stem at The Hoxton

photo from:
photo from:


Who: Barcelona DJ John Talabot
What: Deep genius dark house music
Where: The Hoxton, 69 Bathurst Street
Price: $20
Bonus: Two new concert friends!

On Friday night, I headed to The Hoxton to catch the set of a DJ I have only recently started listening to (best part of my job: listening to music like this, which gets me into the writing zone). Despite my lingering presumption that The Hoxton seems a bit uppity at times, I always have a blast there. That must be due to the fact that I see phenomenal sets like John Talabot’s. Damn, this guy’s good.

Case in point: listen to the dark, rich texture he creates with “Tragedial”:


There’s more delicious music on his SoundCloud profile.

I must admit, this Spanish DJ was an enigma during his set, through and through. He barely said a word, and he had a guy playing with him the whole time, but I didn’t even hear if they mentioned his name. As a duo, they had a quiet, intense energy that was projected through the music – although being in the first row, about a metre away from their feet, probably helped create the atmosphere of intensity for me and the two awesome people I met in front of the stage while waiting for the show to start. (One good thing about going to concerts solo: there is always the potential to talk with people that share your taste in at least one excellent thing.)

Talabot released his debut album, called ƒIN, in January 2012. It has a wandering, unsettling, electronic odyssey feel that the opener, “Depak Ine,” sets the whole album up for:


His music is a creepy walk alone through a darkened park: the kind where your heart rate rises and you start to get paranoid about what is happening beyond the fringes of your vision, even though there’s (probably) nothing there. All that lies somewhere further than what the light touches is that much more terrifying for being unseen.

Talabot captures that oddly specific feeling – that intuition that certain things exist just outside the periphery of your perception, whether they are horrible or wonderful or somehow both – perfectly in his music. During a live set, it makes your skin shiver. Admittedly, my experience may have been heightened in that respect by the incredibly loud bass making our brains reverberate pleasantly in our skulls.

And when it was done and the DJs had modestly left the stage to the sound of our cheering, walking out into the rain-soaked night air at 2:30 in the morning felt equally amazing.


Fin album cover
Fin album cover

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