Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Just another Friday night.

I went to a bar on Friday, and came home with my head ringing and a sore stomach from where I'd been elbowed.


Thought I'd been in a fight, eh? Well, no, not so much. Actually I was in a far more dangerous sort of altercation - a dance floor.

medieval PunditZ - a duo of DJ's from New Delhi - gave concert in Toronto was held at the Gypsy Co-Op, a small-ish club on Queen Street. Really cute place - nice tables, good drinks, comfortable atmosphere. But not really suited for the kind of music that would be playing, or the sort of dancing that I was about to experience.

Now, if you've read other entries of mine, you understand that I am, despite my best efforts, a rather stogy classical musician. So, understand that my comments come from someone not a part of the electronica scene, but observing it for the first time.

1) Why does everyone face the DJ?

Ok, I understand that they are "performing", but for goodness sakes, there is really nothing to see. There is a guy who just stands at the front of the room poking at some boxes and weaving and bobbing his head like he's had a bit too much to drink. So, why are we compelled to watch

2) boundaries and personal space

You're feeling the music, that's great. Swaying, dancing, all fine. But trying to emulate some kind of flailing sea creature with your arms is neither attractive nor practical. One, that's how I got a nice elbow to gut, and two, you are in a small confined space, with many warm people. Consistently raising your hands above your head may not be the best idea.

3) volume levels

Again, the old lady in me comes out. But really, in a constricted space, with no need to project, is it necessary to project music at such a decibel as to cause physical pain? Bass levels can be adjusted to project the beats just fine, and in Indian electronica, wailing vocals are the norm. Definitely painful at a volume level that made my beer look like the glass of water in Jurassic Park.

Also, as an observation, I'd like to describe the complicated mating ritual of the phish dancers - people at concerts who tend to be like the flailing octopus I described earlier, but with little sense of rhythm or balance.

The male begins to sway and curve his arms at odd angles. His too-small t-shirt stretches with his exertions but he forges forward, planting his feet firmly and continuing to gyrate his upper body. The female begins to notice. She turns, her long dreads preventing any interlopers from coming closer as they whip those in a two foot radius. She approaches, and begins to mimic his movements. The two continue to gyrate and flail until they have warded off all enemies, who have fled fearing for their lives, and they are free to dance alone, completely off the very distinguishable beat.

So, what did I think of the concert? I'm still not entirely certain. I really like their new album, Midival Times, but I have to say that hearing it live didn't do much for me. It's dark, it's sweaty, as far as I could tell the mixes were rather uninspired, or certainly didn't lend much of anything to what I had heard on the CD. But, there is a certain allure to be part of a teeming mass, that moves together (out of necessity as much as anything else). But I left an hour into their set, and I'm not sad for it.

I preserved my ears and avoided a black eye, so a good evening all in all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you're interested, there's another review of the show up at