May 9, 2013

The Presets / Dragonette / Classixx - Terminal 5 - May 8, 2013

Wednesday night's evening of dance music felt like a nice change from the Indie/Songwriter-singer sort of bands I usually see perform. All 3 bands ensured that the audience attained a high off of their music. At least that's the way I felt and all I was drinking was water. Sometimes, I miss my days of going out to dance clubs. There was a time in my younger days when I went out to dance clubs at least 4 nights a week. I've gotten older and the world's changed but I can still get caught up in a swirling wall of sound.


A production duo named Classixx, made up of Tyler Blake and Michael David opened up the show. Their bio states that the duo were childhood friends and started as a duo deejaying in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Though I found nothing to the contrary, I could have sworn I heard a European accent when Tyler Blake introduced the duo. Of the two, Michael David seemed to concentrate more on his guitar playing and the instruments in front of him. Though Blake did as well, he more often than not danced between occasionally doing vocals, playing keyboard or fiddling with the knobs on his board.

The two opened with the "Supernature" which although I really loved the groove, I am not sure if was intended to have anything to do with the old disco classic by Cerrone. Whether it did or not, that first song went seamlessly into Classixx's "Listomania" remix. The song that followed "Jozi's Fire," had a hard house feel emanating from the high pitch kick beat and highhats. And when the music moved into the very poppy "All You're Waiting For," the synth lines reminded me of Prince's "Controversy" Album. When their set ended I felt as though I had listened to music that was current, but with a whole lot of 70s and 80's influences inside the music, from Giorgio Morder to Art of Noise.

Classixx Set List
Phoenix - Lisztomania (Classixx Remix)
Jozi's Fire
All You're Waiting For
I'll Get You
Beni - My Love Sees You (Classixx Remix)
Holding On

Classixx are:
Michael David - keyboard, mixers and guitars
Tyler Blake  - keyboard, mixers and vocals


The great thing about doing this blog is that I get to see how bands evolve; I get to see what has changed and what has stayed the same. This was my second time seeing Dragonette, the first was in August of 2010. This time around Dragonette seemed more fluid and their music seemed more about the remixes than staying true to their original recordings. The band still had a lot of lighting on stage but it didn't seem as much as the last time.

Dragonette's set started with the majestic moan of a synthesizer as the trio quickly took places on stage before going into "Pickup The Phone." I think the arrangement may have been different because although I've heard the song before, I didn't automatically recognize it. Once the first song ended, the band went directly into "Riot." which segued directly into "Live In The City." Both songs reminded that though Martina Sorbara may not have a big voice, she's still a dynamic performer.

My photos kind of make her surroundings look tight but there was plenty of room on stage for Sorbara to dance around and that she did. Sorbara's initial bad girl greeting to the audience made me laugh, with her nasal speaking voice she said "How you doin'?.. oh yeah ! we got the weather all fixed up fa's a good's a motherfuckin''s motherfuckin' summertime." The young woman next me yelled "yea girl!"

"The Right Woman" had a very sexy vocal and seemed slower than the songs that came before it, so much so, it felt like a song from the disco era. Though "My Legs' was my least my favorite song; my absolute favorite was "Take it Like A Man" - I think it was the very 60s British Pop dramatic chorus that I enjoyed. Another favorite was "I Get Around " which had Daddy dancing in place to Dan Kurtz's keyboard riff.

All in all, Dragonette managed to get through what was actually a headliner's set of 15 songs in less than 60 minutes. When they walked of stage, the crowd cheered acknowledging they had received a full set from intro to encore.

Dragonette’s Set List
Pick Up The Phone
Live In The City
Right Woman
Animale (Don Diablo Cover)
My Legs
Take It Like A Man
Run, Run, Run,
I Get Around
Fixin’ To Thrill
Giddy Up
Hello (Martin Solveig & Dragonette cover)
Let It Go

Dragonette are:
Martina Sorbara - Lead Vocals and guitar
Dan Kurtz - Keyboards and bass guitar
Joel Stouffer - Drums

The Presets

The Presets are a electronic dance music duo from Australia. I knew of them prior to Wednesday night but didn't know their music except for a few listens on Spotify during the week prior to the show. I'd been curious about seeing them when they were in town in October but couldn't get myself on the guest list, this time I managed to get on both their list, as well as Dragonette's. Fortunate for me, but unfortunately for bands, the show was not sold out. With the 3rd level closed, T5 felt as crowded as usual. But believe me, all three bands made it a great show.

The show opened with a darkly lit stage and a pre-recorded or perhaps sequenced keyboard intro that sounded like procession music. Once The Presets assembled behind their equipment, they went directly into "Push," starting them off with a very powerful beginning which was partially due to the song's unique opening lyric sung by Julian Hamilton.

Though the duo did move around somewhat on stage, which included Kim Moyes occassionally coming out from behind the drums to play keyboard or xlophone, they were still only two people. To make up for the lack of people on stage, there were lots of lights and 4 panels - like large LCD screens set around the stage flashing different designs throughout the evening. The I didn't think the lights were amazing, but they were interesting enough to compliment the flow of the show.

Immediately after saying "Hello New York - Nice to See You," Hamilton triggered the sampled vocals that began and are used throughout "A New Sky," which went directly into "Girl And The Sea." The latter segued from the song before, and then segued for a second time directly into the "Fall." Though I was familiar with the songs, obviously, I did not know them as well as The Presets crowd who automatically cheered upon each segue.

Along with "Fall," "Promises" was one of my favorite songs, which Hamilton introduced as a new song and then took back by saying it wasn't new. (As seen on Youtube, they have been doing it in concert for the past year.) The last four songs of The Presets set took me by surprise. Starting with "This Boy's In Love" which unlike the recording and other live performances, Moyes drumming did not begin until the mid-song. And ending with "My People," the four songs built in intensity . For me, it was the most compelling part of the show - the songs had a hard hitting immediacy that allowed me to lose myself inside the music.

Every once in awhile, a concert will have an oh boy moment, when I feel myself cringing and feel a little scared for the performer. I think it happened during the encore but my notes aren't clear regarding when. Some guy jumped on stage, grabbed Hamilton and started dancing. Hamilton handled it really well by complying with the guy, moving along as if they were both waltzing until security came and politely escorted him off stage. It was just a blip, in terms of the entire show - but a strange one nonetheless.

As for the encore, I was glad they came back because I wanted to hear "Fast Seconds," and though I enjoyed the encore, the music had already peeked for me during their set.

The Presets’s Set list
A New Sky
Girl And The Sea
If I Know You
This Boy’s in Love
I Go Hard, I Go Home
Youth In Trouble
My People

Are You The One
Fast Seconds
Kicking and Screaming
Talk Like That

The Presets are:
Julian Hamilton  - vocals & keys
Kim Moyes  - drums and keys

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