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Live Review: Willaris. K @ Hugs & Kisses – 12.05.2018

Visiting from QLD for another gig entirely, the stars aligned so that I could catch Willaris. K on his debut headline tour. Performing at Hugs & Kisses, the vibes were high, temperature was low and rain pouring down. Door issues aside—having the bouncer make every single person, regardless if they had a ticket or not go to the club’s website to become a member—the venue was small and perfect for a midnight rave.

As I could only drop into the club for Willaris. K’s set, I was disappointed to find out I had missed Luboku on support. He’s a promising Melbourne producer crafting left-field house brilliance. Although I wasn’t able to see his live set, I recommend catching his new single, Without You.

The stage was small and the dance floor was even smaller. A respectable pile of jackets was forming on top of a speaker near the stage as the club’s temperature was considerably higher than outside’s. Willaris. K appeared amongst strobe and smoke to a long winded, echoey entrapment. His prelude set the atmosphere well and timed perfectly for me to purchase my two drinks in time, discounting the EFTPOS issues.

There was no half measures. Willaris. K amplified his prime techno farce from the get-go. He strikes a beautiful balance of cathartic, emotive electronica and gearing, prosthetic techno. Having seen his performances at last year’s BIGSOUND and Maroochy Music & Arts Festival, we’re no stranger to Willaris. K’s vivid live sets. Tonight’s show, however, was on an entirely new level. He’s found his niche, grew into his dark vibes and embraced it to it fullest.

It wasn’t until at least half way though the set until we got recognisable material from the producer. Risen was first off the rank—his latest mesmerising thumper built with incredibly textured rave undercurrents. Playing the seven-minute entropy in full, the nocturnal calamity brought a raucous response from the crowd. Willaris. K did so well to incorporate the grinding nature of the track into the already dense techno thickets.

He rolled on into more unknown territory. The ebb and flow to his work is masterful. Each techno track pulsated into the other, the backbeat continuing like a constant, healthy heartbeat. What appeared to be next single followed—akin to Dour NightsAlchemy and Risen—this track ran a similar course of harsh beats and a sampled vocal element. More in like with UK garage, this unnamed track seemingly progressed for at least 10 minutes. Either that, or I was totally entranced by its intensity.

Dour Nights was up. Pure goosebumps. Willaris. K felt the push from the crowd as the sweat grew on his forehead. The track’s already accomplished rise and crescendo is unheard of. Translated live, it’s a full take into electronic spiritual ascension. The mountainous suppression on Dour Nights is bright and cosmic—a truly perfect moment. Shining lighter than a crystal ball, Willaris. K—having heard the cheers from the crowd and receiving their praise—dropped Alchemy. The use of negative space is pleasing to the exhaustive audience, though doesn’t stop the front row from jumping to its trancelike compositions. After that chorus, we’re all the more better from hearing its rich melodies and razor sharp electricity.

For 90 minutes, we were trapped in Hugs & Kisses by Willaris K’s demanding and cutthroat techno. He transformed the already rave-perfect venue into his own electronic powerhouse. Unable to look away or release yourself from his grasp, Willaris. K’s live show, and powerful studio work, are an absolute feat.

Written by Jake Wilton