I was thinking about the difference between LCD Soundsystem and Soulwax, the two best live dance music acts going today, and having now seen them both play within two weeks of each other has brought it into sharp relief.
Where LCD Soundsystem are brining a rock aesthetic to dance music, Soulwax approach live music from a DJ asthetic. Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele are better known as mashup pioneers 2 Many DJs (though Soulwax actually came first) and certainly have a good idea of how that should work. Soulwax Nite Versions, the official name of their touring band this time around, is like seeing a flawless DJ set but without turntables. One nonstop, 50-minute dance party that basically replicates the Soulwax Nite Versions album in it’s entirety with a few flourishes to remind you, if you could possibly forget, that this was all being played live on-stage.
In addition to the musicianship, Soulwax have the look too. All four members dressed in white, against that jarring optical illusion backdrop (jagged pink-and-white lines) with an ultra-simple but entirely effective light show. Plus the put the drummer up front. I know I’ve said this before, but why don’t all bands do this?
The show last night at Hiro wasn’t quite the ecstatic experience I had in September at Studio B, but that was a Friday night and I had zero expectations of the show. A hard show to live up to, but it was nonetheless great. I didn’t stick around for the 2 Many DJs set (it was 1am and I have a regular job) but the most of the crowd looked ready to party.
If you have no issues with being out late on a Wednesday night, I implore you to check them out tonight. (Or anywhere else on their tour.) You can even stay home and watch Lost before going out, as doors don’t open till 11pm. (Art Brut are playing earlier.) If you have any affinity for this kind of music, you won’t be disappointed.
Radio Soulwax tour dates:
Apr 18 2007 STUDIO B BROOKLYN, New York
Apr 19 2007 S.A.T MONTREAL
Apr 20 2007 OPERA HOUSE TORONTO
Apr 21 2007 METRO CHICAGO, Illinois
Apr 25 2007 CHOP SUEY SEATTLE, Washington
Apr 27 2007 MEZZANINE SAN FRANCISCO, California
Apr 29 2007 EMPIRE POLO GROUNDS PALM SPRINGS, California
Image is from frankowski’s Flickr photostream — actually from a show in Sidney, Australia, but pretty much captures the vibe of the show.