Monday, May 28, 2012

Two Coachella gigs

Plastikman 19-04-2010.

In the '94 or '95 Xmas issue of Melody Maker, there a joint interview featuring Richie Hawtin, James Lavelle, and a third very famous DJ (it might have been Oakenfold?).  My memory is a bit hazy, and I couldn't track down that interview on the web, but I think those details are correct.  What I do remember quite clearly from that article was a quote from Hawtin about DJ'ing that was along the lines of "in Detroit, if I play a track that's more than one year old, the kids get very upset."

Fifteen years later, Hawtin brought back his long dormant Plastikman moniker for a series of live shows that had the hype and feel of a reunion tour, with a greatest hits set and stops at a number of major festivals.  The man who'd prided himself on playing sets full of songs you'd probably never recognize (or samples and loops reassembled into new unrecognizable forms) was closing his shows with his most well known track, "Spastik".

I'm not sure if a complete video of this performance exists.  Clips of the intro to the opening track, "Ask Yourself", are easy to find online (for this and for many of his other shows).  The visuals don't disappoint, a blinding ensemble of whites and reds that crackle, pulse, and flutter along to the music.  And the music is pure Plastikman, where minimal techno gets crushed under the weight of doom and paranoia.  This lived up to the hype and then some.

M83 14-04-2012

M83 concerts used to be sloppy, uncoordinated messes in 2003-4.  Their evolution from those beginnings to one of the most exciting live acts around is as unexpected as their gradual transformation from a MBV-via-synth semi-novelty group to indie royalty whose fans sing the words to all their songs at their shows. 

I've heard recordings from a couple of other gigs on the "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" tour, and festival recordings from past tours, and this one is easily the best.  What it lacks in sound quality it makes up for in atmosphere.  You can really feel the excitement in the air in the crowd, and effortlessly place yourself among the sweat and insanity.  "Couleurs" has gone through a few changes over the years, it was once their "Perfect Kiss" but has now become more like their "Fine Time" -- one of the best combinations of rock and club techno you're ever likely to hear. 

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