Calvin Harris, Picture House, Edinburgh

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Is nostalgia catching up with us already, or is time marching on quicker than we realise?

After the flash in the pan that was New Rave, which exhumed the worst excesses of the early Nineties for a whole new audience, Calvin Harris seems to have moved on to single-handedly reinvent the latter part of that decade, particularly the commercial trance sound so beloved of mainstream clubbers at the time. By merging its critically reviled but oddly durable style with his own ear for a great pop track (and by landing a couple of single-producing successes with Dizzee Rascal in the process), Harris seems to be dragging the sound right into the heart of the mainstream.

So his new set is part rock show, part warehouse rave. Like a Caledonian Tiesto, Harris's job is as much to be a cheerleading figurehead for an army of young fans who jump up and down and pump their fists in the air on his command. He sings the majority of the lyrics, of course (the rest are sampled), and even plays his angular black keyboards quite often, but a lot of his job seems to involve pogoing on the spot as his shiny black hoodie bounces around bright red T-shirted shoulders, while his jet-black mini-quiff stays solidly fixed.

The hits are crammed into this full-band set, but "Acceptable in the 80s", "Vegas", "I Created Disco" and the eternally crowd-pleasing "The Girls" are truly performed now, rather than just re-enacted. Dramatic keyboard crescendos are bolted on to the end of each like pipe-bomb cannons on an A-Team battle van, and the live sound of these and new tracks like "Flashback" and the splendid "I'm Not Alone" seem designed to support a rock star ready for the big stage, rather than a bedroom producer with a fine line in twee electro-pop.