Event Review: Jon Hopkins Delivers Mesmerizing Performance At Brooklyn Steel

Hopkins brought something new to each of his records, reimagining them on the fly and breathing new life into them with visuals.
Jon Hopkins

John Hopkins

Jon Hopkins may have wrapped up his North American tour on Wednesday night in Boston, but there was a sense of finale when he performed at Brooklyn Steel the night before. He initially kicked off his run of shows in North America in the more intimate Elsewhere, a few weeks after his album Singularity was released in May. But with four months to digest, there was a sense of triumph coming back to Brooklyn with over 1,500 people standing before him.

Leon Vynehall was the opener, stoically playing more leftfield electronic music to a crowd, which remained largely as stoic as him. The dark room matched the vibe as he warmed the room, but did not connect that much with them.

When Jon Hopkins arrived on stage around 9:30, a roar came up from the sold out crowd, which had finally filled up after navigating the slow process of entering the venue.

He wasted no time getting into his set, kicking things off with selections from his new album Singularity, the title track to be precise. Since the video only came out a week ago, he probably didn’t have time to incorporate it into the visuals, but with other songs from the album, he would use the music videos as the background visuals.

As he mixed his way into “Emerald Rush,” viewers were not only taken on that blissful auditory journey, but could also follow along with the animated character and his battle with giant bugs in the forest.

Each of the songs were paired with thrilling visuals that matched the records, like the dreamy starry exploration of “Luminous Beings,” which ended the first part of the set, or a journey through nerve endings and a morphing, spherical, colorful black hole on “Everything Connected.”

The visuals helped put the show over the top, but it was what Hopkins did behind the deck that made the show special. He didn’t just hit play on a few records and let them go -- he worked frenetically to craft each song, building each of the elements, twisting them and creating them anew with each song and section. The songs were as familiar as they sounded on the album, but also were different enough to know that he was doing something to them.

At around 10:20, he seemed to finish up his set after going through many of the tracks on Singularity, though it just didn’t seem plausible he would only do a 50-minute set. After a half-hearted attempt to leave the stage, he returned and dove into “Open Eye Signal” from Immunity, teasing out the bass even more and getting one of the strongest reactions of the night. At that moment the crowd wasn’t sure if he would hang on for another half an hour, but after a few bows, waves and a big grin on his face, he exited stage left around 10:30.

Jon Hopkins left the sold out crowd dazed and mesmerized by a combination of his music, warped and reimagined in new ways and brought to life with powerful visuals. 

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