Radioactive Man

Acclaimed DJ battles with the lure of the Black Box's seats

Outside the chalky facade of The Black Box bass and beats slip and slide on the glazed cobbles of the drizzly night. Electro, in the form of Radioactive Man, has come to the Cathedral Quarter on a Saturday night.

Radioactive Man, AKA Dennis Tenniswood, comes fresh from his recent outing at the Bloc Weekend festival in Bristol. For the past two weeks The Black Box has been veiled in an electronic mist, with the disco infused Aeroplane having landed in mid March.

But Radioactive Man, half of Two Lone Swordsmen, is a different kettle drum of sounds, so can the Cathedral Quarter venue contain him?

A medley of electro, techno and acid float and crash their way through the darkened hall. Radioactive Man is better known for his DJing than solo material, demonstrated skilfully in the flows of sonorous energy coming through his pair of 1210’s. Speaker cones bulge and vibrate as a soup of UK techno, European electro and US inspired house pour out. The air is thick and heavy with condensed synthesizer sound.

However, Tenniswood’s power-filled electronics have little effect on this seated crowd, gingerly sipping Grolsch and chatting. Lone dancers dare the centre floor.

Analogue waves drench the Black Box, pickling the open space in an addictive solution of electronics. Radioactive Man manages and maintains the revolutions with all the ease of a craftsman, effortlessly blending and mixing genres through subtle fads and quick-handed knob twiddling.

Digital and analogue formats are spliced through scratches and crosses, with a turntablist play being acted out for the Black Box seated. It takes over an hour, of time and lubricant, before the first daredevils traverse the boards and the night gains some momentum. Radioactive Man ups the tempo as the clock and records rotate, churning out faster beats and twisted synthesizers whilst basslines compress the rib cages of a gathering crowd.

The plutonium powered DJ seemed pleased with his set with a pint glass in his hand. As the last record spins the crowd adopts Radioactive Man’s enthusiasm and zeal. Bodies give in to the bass and breaks as the bpm surges to new heights against the Black Box ceiling. Tenniswood had one question puzzling him as the crowd dissipates and sweat dries, why so many chairs?

Robert Geoghegan