Last Night: Daedelus at the Bluebird
Monday October 5, 2009
Better than: The rest of my Monday -- by a long damn shot.
Today, I had a bad case of the Mondays. As a result, I approached this show with a heavy heart -- I would much rather have been curled up in bed, or at least in front of Monday Night Football on the couch. But duty called, and duty here was to see some music and see if it could penetrate the fog of despair and exhaustion that enveloped me. So could these electronic auteurs penetrate the miasma and clear my head?
Our evening began at 8 p.m. with a healthy dose of CacheFlowe in his brand-spanking new A/V mode. Coupled with his flurry of dense, experimental, mind-fucking glitch and thump, he delivered some groovy interactive visuals. The green fire, pixelized abstractions and swirling psychedelic fractals went beautifully with his music. It was literally hypnotic -- I felt in a trance after a few minutes watching it. And the music? Well, CacheFlowe remains one of the ost challenging, fascinating artists in town. His work is unbelievably deep - I honestly believe if he stretched out some of his ideas (instead of switching between them at breakneck speeds) and focused on the accessible bits, he'd be a superstar in the electronic world. But he insists on keeping things crazy and operating on another level from most acts -- and thank god for it. Someone is going to make a mint ripping him off someday, but the true heads will continue to return to the source.
Musa followed hm with an intriguing set of electro (old-school and what's called electro these days) meets hip-hop meets breaks DJ set. There were some cool turntablism elements, some excellent timbres and solid beats. It wasn't amazing but it was very solid and the crowd was lapping it up. Strangely, Musa felt a need to apologize for it -- I'd love to see a set he didn't feel a need to apologize for, because frankly, I heard little to complain about. Near the end of his set he played some Kraftwerk, which made me smile. Love the Kraftwerk -- can't go wrong with that!
Then came Daedelus, with his fancy sideburns, antique fashion sense and sweet-ass monome controller. I expected something beard-stroking and clever, but not necessarily banging. Instead, I got a surprisingly storming set that flashed between drum and bass influenced material and more straightforward, thumping techno-derived tunes. And yeah, it was pretty clever. Just not quite as nerdtacular as I thought it might be.
Better yet, it was a nicely engaging performance. Far too many electronic artists are utterly dull on stage. That's fine in a dance club or ave, but on a stage where bands usually play, where people are expecting to see a performance, it sucks the air out of a set. Daedelus emphatically did not make this mistake. He was moving constantly, fingers flying all over his controller, reacting to the sounds he was making with his expressive face, smiling and laughing and clearly having a great time up there. And it made a difference. Arguably it shouldn't but it absolutely did.
And by the time it was over? My case of the Mondays was gone -- and we still had almost an hour of Monday left. Thanks Daedelus, Musa and CacheFlowe, for turning my day around. Music 1 - Monday 0.
Personal Bias: On a Monday night in a venue like this, I am not looking for a straight up dance set. Luckily, I didn't get one from any of these folks, although Daedelus was much closer to that than I expected.
Random Detail: Really random crowd -- hipsters, dance music scenesters, and a dude that would have looked way more home at a country show. I love when people defy the expectations they set with their image.
By the Way: Lots of musicians here tonight - I ran into four I know. That's always a sign that the performers are something special, in my experience.