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Darren Emerson/Johnny Moy, Red Box, Dublin, Saturday 13th November

The crowd is huge and the queue's annoying but, to be fair, you can't fault the Red Box for this type of night. Heavy air conditioning means that the floor never quite reaches the Hades-like conditions of, say, The Kitchen, while the bassy sound system can mash your internal organs if you stand too close to the stage. Never a bad thing. And it is heaving tonight, heaving with expectation for Emerson to conquer all before him. One-third of Underworld, the man who Dave Angel cited as one of the best around (along with Derrick May) has been accused of being lazy, of selling out, of being drunk on duty. Tonight, he has a lot to prove.

First, though, local boy Moy, who obviously never sleeps judging by the amount of appearances he puts in around the city every week. If you're reading this review, you've probably seen him and it's a typically workmanlike set from the newly shaven one. Hampered slightly by the fact that the cloakroom queue is encroaching badly onto the dancefloor, he still gets em groovin' without overstaying his welcome.

Emerson takes to the decks with a definite statement of intent. A rolling funk of a beat gets the set going and you realise that this man is not just about dance, he's about music. Melodies, eh? Not in my day. But Emerson succeeds in dropping slow-burners and funked-up tunes without ever losing the crowd. You can see he's loving it. Orbital's 'Impact' blasts out and the guy's grin is as big as the crowd's. When the superlative 'Kittens' (from "Beaucoup Fish") breaks for the second time, you want him to be best man at your wedding. Playing until 3am with the house lights on, he leaves us broken, his reputation reinforced or destroyed, depending on your previous opinion. He may have played the MTV awards just three nights previously, but you get a funny feeling that he's home now, safe and sound.

Patrick Horan

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