Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Max Romeo/Ben Klock weekend doubleheader

Max Romeo and his band put on a sensational show, and any fears I might have had about Romeo's voice fading with age were put to rest from the start. An active, involved crowd always makes a concert that much more memorable, but I was especially impressed with the venue (Barbi), which boasts itself as the city's true reggae home and backed it up in spades. It's a crusty venue in the best possible sense, with a dingy (but not at all grimy) atmosphere, like a giant log cabin, with an intimately aligned second tier along one edge of the hall that makes the place feel like an early 90's AC/DC video once everybody crowds against the railings to watch the show.

Ben Klock warmed up with perhaps the toughest minimal techno I've ever heard. The basslines were virtually nonexistent but the beats were brutally stiff, creating an oddly tranquil sense of space even as the music pounded from the speakers at high volume. Eventually, he progressed toward denser material, Detroit-ish stuff with blazing HIHATS that gives me hope that my Cari Lekebusch and Kai Randy Michel records are becoming cool again.

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