(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Concert review - Kraddy with Archnemesis, Seth Abrums

3 February 2011 (Aggie Theatre, Ft. Collins CO)

It's a treat getting world grade electronic artists like Kraddy here in Ft. Collins. At first, I thought it might have been wasted on us because the crowd was sparse and some of the first people to show were more into the scene rather than knowing Kraddy. I shouldn't have worried. As the audience swelled, it was clear that the fans were out in force. It was rave night at the Aggie and all was well.

Seth Abrumz
DJ Seth Abrumz led off the show, starting to an almost empty house. Tapped into his own private zone, the lack of an audience didn't seem to phase him. In classic DJ fashion, Abrumz ran his set on the fly, maintaining an active hand in the mix.

The mix featured a dance heavy sound, with elements of techno, drum and bass, and acid house. The grinding bottom end filled out the room and set the mood, even when the crowd was still thin. Between the growing crowd, the light stick jugglers, and the powerful beats, the set developed a cool rave vibe.

Abrumz DJ skills were pretty good, slicing and mutating tracks with a casual flow. He laid out a some nice break beats, especially on I Like My Bass Phat.

All in all, it was a strong set, I just wish he'd have interacted more with the audience. In addition to last night's show, he'll be part of the Got Bass lineup at the Aggie on 5 February.

Archnemesis nailed the electronic band feel. With two DJs, they could build a heavily layered sound with more interaction between the parts. Laying out echoes thick enough to get lost in, the two (Telepath and MO Theory) guys traded off foreground and background roles. Their grooves were spectacularly heavy, but there were plenty of subtle details to fixate on beyond the bass and beat.

Archnemesis' strongest ace was how they mixed in some great retro samples -- soul, bop style jazz, and early R&B. The horn parts they stirred in were particularly spicy. This gave them a unique mix of old and modern, while they wandered through electro funk, glitchy, drum and bass, and some experimental something or other. The sound was more cerebral, adding a trippy crystalline vibe here or a heady bit of trance there.

This is where the energy really started to flow. Always in motion, Archnemesis connected with the crowd. Even though they didn't say much beyond greeting us, counting, and asking us how we were doing, their exuberance on stage was contagious.

The track Diamonds and Glass was a great example showing off their horn and soul mixing. This is the title cut off a free EP you can download here. The trance drive break in the live show bounced off some time interactive work between the two DJs.

Archnemesis brought their game, now the crowd was psyched for Kraddy.

Kraddy casually took the stage and promised us a good mix of new stuff and music off Labyrinth, his recent EP (my review here). The press release for Labyrinth suggested "Led Zeppelin 3000" as its inspiration. Kraddy's set delivered on that idea. By the end of the show, we had been rocked with bassy crunch that had throbbed through us like some kind of infrasound scanner. This physical sensation paired perfectly with Kraddy's grindy, glitchy, dub step, drum and bass sound. With the dancing and the lights, this low end groove was like a rave set inside a boom car.

Kraddy's show was more of a standard DJ style, because the tracks were basically already laid out in his studio. Kraddy played them with some minor mixing and loops, but it wasn't built as interactively as the Archnemesis set. The secret here, though, was that most of the familiar tracks sounded fresh and remixed for the show. Between the fresh take on the tunes, the occasional breaks mixed in, and Kraddy's constant motion, this created a full live band vibe.

Kraddy's giant physical presence -- whether he was goading the crowd or interpretively dancing to the track -- was key to building the party mood. While he's gesturing for the crowd to bounce or triumphantly raising his hands, all eyes are on him.

As promised he hit most of the Labyrinth tracks, with a heavy remix of Minotaur being especially good. He also laid out a new remix of one of his notable tracks Android Porn. This version was more laid back and dreamier than the original. The slower progression built up the intensity that set up a nice dub break.

Rhythmic light dances by the audience, pounding beats, sub-bass rattles, and an ecstatic DJ. Ft. Collins got its club on. And there were giant robots in my dreams...

More photos on my Flickr.

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