Monday, May 24, 2010

Bells and Lazers in the Middle East

I may not seem or look like the type of guy, but sometimes I crave a big dance party when I go to a show. That's exactly what I got when I caught Major Lazer at their sold out performance at the Middle East on April 4, 2010. It wasn't just any show. It was one of those rare circumstances where I liked every band on the bill so I made sure to get there on time to catch the openers. I was really hoping that the show lived up to my expectations since I didn't spend Easter with my family because of it as I traditionally do. Sorry, parents! As you'll soon read, I was not letdown.

The show opened with buzz-worthy noise pop band Sleigh Bells. My friends and I were walking in as the duo of singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller were pushing the speakers to their limit. Krauss's pop background and Miller's hardcore past meld perfectly to create a loud, infectious concoction. Miller was the guitarist for Poison the Well for a period of time and you can hear some serious metal influence in his guitar tones.  

Krauss is one of the most engaging female performers in music right now and had everyone captivated with her strikingly sexy stage presence. She shook her hips, stripped clothing, and screamed with all her heart as they ripped through fan favorites like "A/B Machines" and "Crown on the Ground". The two had great chemistry which helped you forget that they were also playing to a backing track which is something I'm usually not too psyched about. The band avoided this pitfall well and did an excellent job of creating the illusion that I just saw a much larger band. Their fantastic debut Treats is available now and is a definite must-listen in 2010.

Rusko was playing the backing tracks for Sleigh Bells so when they finished, he was able to launch right into his set. The energetic dubstep DJ was so lively that he didn't stop moving for a second his entire set. It was surprisingly entertaining to watch as he fluttered his arms emphatically every time he dropped a beat that got the crowd grooving. My only complaint was that sometimes he would ride a huge build and then bust into a slow brooding beat when I wanted something fast and punchy; but I guess that's dubstep for you. Regardless, like any good DJ, he did a great job of reading the crowd and feeding off them as he mixed.

Finally, Major Lazer took the stage, lazers a-blazing with Diplo spinning in the center and infamous hype-man Skerrit Bwoy as well as an attractive, acrobatic dancer going all sorts of crazy around him. The mix of dancehall and electronic pop had everyone in the venue bumpin' and grindin'. There was certainly an eclectic mix of people but it seemed like everyone was there to get down. They also passed around big foam lazers for your arm, one of which is currently in my appartment. Besides the excellent mix of electronic music fueling the young hearts on the dance floor, the men had plenty of eye candy to keep them occupied as the dancer contorted and humped her way through the set. Being a DJ set, there isn't too much to describe as far as music but my favorite Major Lazer songs were all there in the mix at the right moments including "Hold the Line", "Can't Stop Now", "Keep it Goin' Louder", and "Pon de Floor". Give their debut a listen here. It's one of the more fun albums to come out last year. If you would prefer a visual aid for what I just described, it looked something like this:

The concert was a great mix of complimentary music that pumped endless energy into the Middle East. It was quite a way to spend an Easter. I figure celebrating the holiday by watching strangers grind on each other while lazers flashed everywhere was every bit as appropriate as looking for psychadelic eggs hidden by a giant rabbit. As if Major Lazer didn't do enought for the kids, they have created this helpful tutorial on 'daggering':

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm way late Dave, but great recap-- that show was amazing all around!