Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Lindstrøm @ Webster Hall

Lindstrøm @ Webster Hall - May 25, 2012
Review: Damien

As an ardent rock show attendee, I'm always struck by the most noticeable non-musical difference between rock show and electronic/dance parties: time travel.

Let's back it up a little bit.

When plotting to see Norwegian producer / electronic musician Lindstrøm on the NYC stop of his short North American tour at Webster Hall on Friday night as part of the venue's weekly Girls & Boys dance party, I observed the long-practiced rule of showing up 30-45 minutes after doors were scheduled to open at to minimize the standing-around-filling-up-the-venue time prior to the first opener. As it turns out, that is very much a rock show rule - with doors scheduled to open at 10pm, I arrived shortly after 10:30 to learn that doors to the Grand Ballroom concert area weren't going to open until midnight.

Luckily, the inbetween time consisted of a pretty badass pre-party in the Marlin Room below the Grand Ballroom where DJs strung together poppy electronica with Keith Sweat remixes as concertgoers waited for the velvet rope to open up for Lindstrøm and the subsequent Simian Mobile Disco DJ set. This proved to be a smart move on the venue's part - partygoers loosened up to the beats as drinks were consumed and random girls in cat outfits danced on the side room's stage and bars, and as the crowd danced with increasing fervor it became clear that all of Webster had become a full-on funhouse outside the confines of time.

I got that feeling even before I somehow wandered down to The Studio in the basement to jump about as two other DJs dressed like extras from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome bust out Hot Chip's new-ish single "Flutes" mid-set.

About half past midnight, it occurred to me that I did in fact have a show to see and I strode back up to the Grand Ballroom to get swept up in Lindstrøm's brand of spaced-out electronica. All of the other showgoers who had been entranced by the past two or so hours of blissed-out dancing were more than primed to come along for the ride, as the producer rolled through cuts off of his latest studio album Six Cups Of Rebel with ease. Instrumentals built, blended, and faded at precisely the right moments, generating an atmosphere that at points surpassed the music itself and just became a pure sonic party.

By the time the distorted vocals of Rebel's Kraftwerk-nodding "Quiet Place To Live" jumped out, I checked out my clock to realize I'd spent over an hour wrapped up in the experience, and was all the happier for it. Even with the smooth transition into Simian Mobile Disco's DJ set, I felt I'd seen and heard plenty for the night. It's a rare feat for artist armed with only a MacBook and some corresponding mixers to truly be able to hypnotize a packed crowd, but Lindstrøm pulled it off masterfully. 

He just wrapped his weekend in Detroit at the Movement Electronic Music Festival, but electronic fans in Miami, Chicago, and D.C. would do well do check him out when he rolls through their cities in October.    

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