In my last event review from Hanoi’s underground club Savage, I mentioned that I would love to witness a good techno night at this venue. So I jumped at the chance to see one of the biggest names of Japan’s techno scene, Wata Igarashi, play there last night. The DJ and producer is known for his hypnotic and clean minimal techno sound and his releases on labels like The Bunker New York and Sienna Obscure.
When I stepped into Savage last night, I instantly noticed that it was busier than the last time I was there. The first floor at the bar was again reserved for funky, groovy disco and soul. There were always some people dancing throughout the night and I enjoyed the music that was played there. Still, I never felt a hundred percent comfortable dancing there, since the floor is super bright and in the middle of the bar.
The darker techno floor called red cube was already filled with some dark, energetic techno by the support DJ and Savage co-founder Rifain. He kept raising the energy of his set higher and higher, also playing some acid, tribal and trancey sounds and getting the crowd excited for what was to come.
Wata Igarashi started his set at 2am with a slower breakbeat techno track. By interrupting the energy of the previous set he captured the attention of the crowd, just to bring the energy way up again quickly. He continued with a similar sound: super energetic, fast-paced and polished techno, also sometimes leaning towards darker, atmospheric sounds. It personally took me a while to fully get into the set and the crowd could have been more lively. After a while, some people started continually cheering and also I had finally been captured by the set. Igarashi is an absolute master on the decks, there’s no doubt about it. His transitions and timing remained precise throughout the whole set, while keeping up a consistent level of energy. Overall, his set felt like a pleasant spiral of deep, hypnotic techno that never got too intense.
I was again amazed by the good quality of the sound system at the red cube and was glad to see it was a busier night. Still the floor slowly emptied after 3am, and overall what I keep missing at Savage is the genuine rave atmosphere that I know from European clubs. The crowd could be more dedicated to the music and dancing. Again, Savage has everything to offer that you would want in a good club, but despite the high quality in music it seems to be lacking a welcoming underground atmosphere and can feel a bit shallow at times.