Well, the title refers to yet more man-on-man rubbing and a bit bared flesh at the Cadenza / Circus Company label night at Le Rex tonight (more below).
I got up painfully early this morning to take a group of students down to Versailles for a field trip. As usual, I’m not blogging in detail about work, but there was amusing thing worth mentioning. We arrived at the palace at around 9h10, ready for our tour scheduled at 9h30. Instead, we found a sign on the door to the group entrance, saying that the palace’s security guards might be on strike today. When we found our tour guide (who was part of the Tourism Board, so not in on the strike), she went into the building and asked around for us; she reported back that the guards were holding a union meeting and voting on the strike, so there would be a decision in an hour or two. Great.
In the meanwhile, we took a break for a coffee at the café in the palace (which, ironically, was open) and then our tour guide offered a tour of the gardens while we waited for the meeting to finish. We came back and found that they had opened the doors—so I guess they decided not to strike—and we were able to have our tour at around 11h00.
From there, I went home and took a nap, ate lunch, and then got to work reading a dense book that I had been struggling to finish over the last week or so. I spent most of the evening dealing with that, then ate dinner and got ready to go out for a night out on the town.
Colors — Violet @ Yono
I biked my way over to Yono in Le Marais, where Fantômette and her girlfriend (along with others) had organized a soirée of minimal techno with the color violet as its theme (the idea is to continue in the future with other colors). Of course, I came wearing violet.
The DJ lineup was simple: just an ongoing back-to-back set between Fantômette and Franck Valat, which made for some very pleasant listening. Fantômette even treated us to a preview of one of her upcoming tracks!
The rest of my Frenchy Krew was there, so I spent most of the evening catching up with everyone and milling around with a small but potent mojito in my hand. But by 1h00, two of my friends were getting restless; S. and D. were planning to go to Le Rex with me for the birthday of Molly, a friend of ours who also does publicity for Le Rex. It was also a combined label night for Cadenza and Circus Company, and I was excited to hear Reboot’s live set. He recently came out with a track that was an ongoing hit last summer and this fall.
So we headed over to Le Rex on foot, trying our best to hurry, since I wasn’t on the guest list and the reduced-entry pass that I had was only good until 2h00. We got there just before 2h00, and I again had a stroke of good luck at the door. The doorman recognized me, saw that I was with two friends that were already on Molly’s list, and he just let me in as another guest. Yay! Those 10€ saved were spent on a well-deserved drink.
0h00-2h30: Thomas Melchior
We only caught the last half-hour of his set, most of which we spent waiting for the coat check and then the bathroom, but what we heard was pretty good. It was pretty standard “minimal” techno, with the occasional ‘classic’ house track thrown in for contrast, which seems to be the trend this year.
We found Molly and wished her a happy birthday, and she took us back to the area behind the live-set setup, where she had set aside a few tables for her friends. However, ahead of the upcoming live sets, the bouncers started this cycle of kicking everyone out of the ‘backstage’ area, then letting them trickle back in as Molly invited them back, and then kicking them all out, and so on.
2h30-3h30: DOP live
Well this live set was just…well…wretched. I was really disappointed, and I can’t think of a nicer way to put it. The beats were generally good, if unexceptional minimal house, but the vocalist / MC was totally unhelpful. His mixture of shouting and singing was distracting at best, and he didn’t seem to contribute anything other than noise and his slightly flabby, hairy torso (he took off his shirt). As a gay guy who normally bemoans the lack of balance in bodily display and nudity between the genders, I totally didn’t want to see that.
He also liked to tell the other two performers to cut the music so that he could try to whip up the crowd, which was annoying. At one point, he had them cut the music completely, and then he made some vapid comment about “teaching” the crowd, and then insisted that everyone sit down (on a floor covered in broken glass and spilled drinks) so that the group could play a track that everyone was supposed to be very excited about. I took the opportunity to run to the bar and grab a stiff drink.
Also, amusingly enough, there was a group of “bogosse” (preppy) guys next to me, alternately throwing themselves on two girls that were there with them and grinding on each other in various pairings and groupings. At the same time, another member of DOP took off his shirt, so 2 out of 3 of them were half-naked. So, for most of this set, I was surrounded by straight guys that were either engaging in striptease or homoerotic groping and grinding. It’s queer night at the straight club!
I dunno if they brought the crowd with them or if they were reacting to the vocalist’s style, but there were a lot of assholes (of both genders) in the crowd, spilling drinks and shoving and stepping on me. A few guys decided to start a mosh pit for a while, which was a new development for Le Rex.
Anyway, S. and D. couldn’t stand it any longer and fled before the end of the set. I stuck around, and was rewarded with Reboot’s live set.
3h00-4h30: Reboot live
Reboot’s set started off really well, with punchy bass (i.e., hard attack, low-register, little to no decay) and delicate layers of high-register click-patterns that gave the whole texture a feeling of being both spacious and solid at the same time. Unfortunately, his set was more of a “here’s all of the tracks I’ve worked on in a row” set, rather than a live set where new music is improvised out of one’s compositional materials.
When he dropped his famous track, “Vandong” (on the Sidekick EP on Below records), I realized that it’s not that powerful a track all on its own. It’s main attraction is a rhythmically-wobbly and sinuous melodic line played on a distorted synth, but the remaining texture is actually a bit lightweight, lacking the sort of percussive impact that you usually hear in Berlin-style minimal techno. So on its own, it was nice but not overwhelming. But when I’ve heard it mixed into a set with other tracks to support the bass end of the sound, this track can be amazing.
Anyway, the tracks that he worked out after that one were less and less interesting to me, so I decided to save my energy for the next night (Frank Valat will be spinning with another friend at an afterparty at 7h00 in the morning) and headed home.