Category Archives: Show Reviews
As I sit here and continue to bang my head against the work desk, I can only conclude that Tuesday morning at the office has never felt so bleak. That’s only in contrast to the wonderfully depraved experience I had over just over a week ago. Last Saturday was the 3rd edition of Sorted, an event catered to the lovers of Techno and everything else that goes bump in the night. What transpired is exactly what makes Denver so integral to the country’s pulse in underground electronic music. Solid bookings of underground enforcers like Call Super and Hodge kept the sweat going and the floor burning all night long. It was vicious, communal to the core, and everything we needed. Did I mention it’s happening again? Read the rest of this entry
Good afternoon! Tis’ the season for yuletide cheer and barside beers, and if you’re like us (which we assume you are), you’re spending the holidays in the warming embrace of beats galore. While the physical House of Acid_Reviews may be buried under almost a foot of snow, that doesn’t mean we can’t spread our love of Techno to the winterized streets of Denver. We’ve turned the lights back on, and this time we’re staying for good. In celebration of our relocation to the Blue Mountain State, we’ve curated an exclusive review to showcase the thriving music scene here with local beat-fanatic Evan Franklin! The decades-old movement of Techno is alive and well in the Colorado capital, and we’ve got the goods ready to flow out like an iron fist of sonic love. We are proud to present our first of many guest-reviews, an inaugural analysis of live music from our new Denver affiliate Evan. Check out his exclusive review of underground mainstay Marco Shuttle, who took the weekend to a new sonic level last Friday at Eko-House!
If there is one thing to be said of Denver’s techno scene: they are committed. I would even go as far as to call them “ravenous,” yet while their hunger is nearly limitless, they are also one of the most polite, accommodating, and well-mannered groups of music fans I have encountered. I believe this can be attributed in a tremendous way to one of the city’s techno masterminds: John Templeton. Not only is he an incredible musical entity in his own right (making his Bunker NY debut the evening following this event), but he has been one of the sharpest and most attentive Colorado promoters since the inception of his now-retired Communikey collective over a decade ago. His savviness as a promoter has been proven time and time again, (see RA’s review of Denver’s Great American Techno Festival for a glimmering example) and this night was no different.
Marco Shuttle was slated to play the Eko House, a south Denver art gallery moonlighting as a space for techno/house/what-have-you parties. It was also slated to be the inaugural event of Templeton’s new project/collective: Vicious Circle. Eko House was a staple of the aforementioned GATF, and seemed promising as one of Denver’s new afterhours hotspots. That was, until they closed their doors to music mere weeks before the night of the shuttle event. Where another promoter’s knees may have buckled, Templeton saw only opportunity. A new space was secured, and what a space it was.
Read the rest of this entry
Have you ever just known deep down that you made the right choice about something? An unshakable confidence in your decision that no variable could alter? That’s what it’s like eating at In & Out Burger, or seeing Holy Ghost! spin live. Except the music is even better than an Animal Style cheeseburger. Last weekend they played their first stretch of DJ sets in almost a year, and in the process gave Boston the most proper Friday night they’ve had in who knows how long. (No offense Boston, your promoters just don’t book enough acts.) With this duo riding out the success of their live band over the last few years, it’s become a rare and special thing to see them tour on the decks. After last Friday’s experience at the Sinclair, however, I’m glad to know that one truth remains after all these years: There’s nothing like a Holy Ghost! DJ set ladies and gentlemen. Read the rest of this entry
Ok folks I don’t know if you heard or not, but things got pretty crazy in NYC last week. We’re talking Peter Gatien-era full-throttle clubland crazy here. Cityfox and Diynamic Music got together to throw what will likely be remembered as one of the greatest parties in the city this year. In what could only be described as an event of true passion, the aforementioned collaborators rented out a warehouse in Brooklyn for an epic 90’s style house party. They invited head-honcho Solomun, Magdaena, H.O.S.H., Adriatique, and even more to play all night with a curated sound-system and state-of-the-art theatrics! Disappointed you missed it? So are we. It’s definitely something worth being sad over. At least we have this though! The recordings may not have surfaced yet, but here is an exclusive mix that Adriatique did for last week’s epic event!
Phish officially kicked off their 2014 Summer Tour at the Xfinity Center in eastern Massachusetts the other night. While they did play a hefty chunk of material from their just-released studio album ‘Fuego’, the second set takes you right back to the 20th century. The band got a chance to break in their new catalog and gain a stage perceptive of the fan’s reaction. The crowd heard the songs live for technically the second time (the band played the entire album in Chicago last summer), and they themselves were able to get a more raw feel of the new tunes. Everybody wins. That’s where it counts anyhow. These guys were basically born to play on stage, come on. A studio experience is really just simple fun when you think about it. They had no hesitation in proving it either. In the second set they really threw things into 5th gear with some immense improv, and exploratory playing from lead guitarist Trey Anastasio. Now Phish has made their way to NY for three solid nights at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, starting TONIGHT! We highly recommend heading down early on Friday to catch the oh-so-funky Z3, featuring original Zappa tunester Ed Mann himself, perform the Phourth of July Official Pre-Party! Have a great Independence Day you rascals.
( Xfinity Center- Mansfield, MA )
Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Fuego, Back on the Train, Halfway to the Moon, The Wedge, 555, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, Birds of a Feather, Wingsuit
Mike’s Song, Simple, Free, Waiting All Night, Ghost, Weekapaug Groove, Harry Hood, Cavern, (Encore) Julius
Memorial Day Weekend has taken on a completely different meaning to the lovers of live music, and it would seem everyone got their own little piece of heaven this weekend, especially the techno junkies (guilty). From the furthest depths of the underground to big stage DJ’s, everyone got their fix as hundreds of performers from around the world shared bills at multiple festivals across the country last weekend. Detroit celebrated the annual Movement Electronic Festival with a seemingly endless bill of top-notch producers. Once again, Insomniac took over New York City with this year’s initial Electric Daisy Carnival. Then there was the Mysteryland Electronic Music Festival held in Bethel, NY which made history both with it’s first US appearance, and as the first camping event on the original Woodstock grounds since 1969! While it is true that the title slightly reminisces some pop star’s mansion that you’d never let your kids near, this fest actually proved to be really unique.
How did you spend last weekend? Well if you live in some place extravagant like New York City, you probably did something awesome. If you live in some place like Boise, well then we’re not quite sure what you did. If you reside in the quaint blue hills of Western Massachusetts however, then you got a party worth writing home about. Triumph: A Tribute to The Disco Biscuits set the quiet streets of Pittsfield on fire. Over a week later, social media outlets are still buzzing with praise and accolades.
We’re not completely bereft of entertainment. Over the years Berkshire County has seen some true talent roll through, but you wouldn’t want to hold your breath between such instances. Folk heroes James Taylor and Arlo Guthrie reside in these hills and mountains on a permanent basis, and acts like Blue Oyster Cult, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Keller Williams have all made appearances in the southern half of the county. There is an outdoor amphitheater in the county that bills some really huge acts, but it still doesn’t provide a weekend music scene. Those sporadic events nowhere near qualify this place as a destination for live music. For the most part, residents who crave the stage mainly have to travel to get their fix. Ironically, this is where we also call home at the moment ladies and gentlemen, and it is quite beautiful.
Just over a week ago we caught a big break. Triumph gave locals a performance they deserved. Why are we writing about a tribute band? And at such great length you ask? Well for one thing, believe it or not they are the first official Disco Biscuits tribute band, or at least the only active one that we can think of (and we’re usually pretty good at that stuff). Really it’s because they set out to cover the music of one of the most technically innovative bands around, and they did a remarkable job. Jon “Barber” Guttwillig, the lead guitarist of tDB is one of the most abstract players around, and really what makes the band so unique. Our local Dan Greene stepped up to the plate and nailed his style fairly well, and he doesn’t even like the band he’s covering! If he can play like a top-tier guitarist he isn’t even a fan of, who knows how good he might at his real passions. They took a risk attempting to replicate such unique music, and it goes way beyond skill to accomplish a solid, cohesive improv jam between four individuals and make it sound good. That takes a lot of chemistry and practice, but Triumph are no underdogs. These guys avoided static and had a clear direction in their playing throughout the entire duration of the show.
Pete Matthews, aka DJ Mathematics, kept the crowd moving with opening and set-break DJ sets. Rather than playing the role of some bar room DJ for hire, Pete held his own. Bringing out classy tracks from artists like Flying Lotus, he did a fine job veering far and true from any run of the mill chart selections. The opening set concluded with a segue into Triumph‘s opening “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.” cover. Any dance junkies in the room that night left more than satisfied, especially thanks to Aaron Nackoul on the keys and synths. Fans of the jam got the most exciting performance in town since Dark Star Orchestra performed across the street a couple of years ago. More importantly, fans of the cult followed Disco Biscuits got a very accurate presentation of the band’s catalog, as well as a very impressive slew of improv segments. We’re not exaggerating here folks. The local fans aren’t even close to the only ones who feel this way either. Fan forums and message boards with members based all over the US have been talking about this little tribute band. You can listen for yourselves HERE or on Archive.
Triumph is Brad Greene on drums, Dan Greene on guitar, John Kelly on bass, and Aaron Nackoul on keys.
Ichisan, aka Igor Skafar, is a man of many melodies. The last winter months saw his official live breach into the US and over the recent weeks, followers here got an answer to a once unimaginable question: How does he do on stage? From the club infested Burroughs of New York City, to the smokey streets of Denver and back again, fans across the country finally got a proper introduction to our guest of honor, and the reviews are phenomenal. Last night you see, time was officially split into two parts for both he and his fans alike: The part before the moment happens, when anticipation is governing your nerves and all is unknown, and the part after, when the moment transcends into memory. We know our readers show their true colors in the moonlight, in a dedicated pursuit of the beats that bump in the shadows. We know all too well the endless search for the perfect note, and the perfect moment. We know what it is like to roll the dice on a musician you’ve never seen live before, but patrons hit a streak of fortune with Ichisan’s recent performances. House of Acid_Reviews founder Cody Bates got to catch up with him for an exclusive interview while he was in Boston last week, check it out below>
1. So, we gotta start with the name. Where did it come from? It doesn’t sound very-
Ichisan: ” -Slovenian? Haha yes I know. It all started with my co-workers at this photography job I had. “Ichi” is short for Igor in Slovenia, and one day I came in and one of them just yelled it: “Hey Ichisan!” Then I thought it could be a good moniker for me.”
2. Before, you juggled doing both professional photography and recording music, with occasional live performances as well. With this tour and the upcoming releases, do you still juggle the two?
Ichisan: “Oh yeah I still do photography. Lately it’s been a slow switch to doing the music thing full time, but I love photography. I will always do it no matter what.”
3. Do you see any future with Eskimo Recordings?
Ichisan: “I’ve been planning a solo album. I started it last year. I’ve been talking to Justin, my manger, and I decided I liked Eskimo for maybe doing the release. I’m good friends with the guy in charge over there. So yeah, the solo album possibly on Eskimo next year.”
4. I was able to meet Tensnake at his performance in Brooklyn the other week. He had mentioned you two were corresponding. Should we be expecting a possible collaboration or perhaps a shared live bill in the future?
Ichisan: “I don’t know, we didn’t talk about that we just met. We met before another time in Croatia at some festival and we became friends, and I don’t know, maybe. He’s here for three months he’s doing this huge tour. So I don’t know, hopefully yes, that’s all I can say I guess.”
5. Yeah he’s a blast to see. Are there any notable differences between playing clubs here versus Europe?
Ichisan: “Um, the United States is much bigger than Europe, and the venues are much bigger than Europe’s. US has a lot more people coming to the show, and, it looks like I have much more fans here than in Europe haha. I have bigger shows here, and that’s the main difference really.”
6. A lot of Americans idolize the European club scene, places like Ibiza, We Love.., Social Club, Ministry of Sound, etc. Do you find that sort of fascination where you come from for our “scene”? Such as the jam culture, like Phish, or The Disco Bicuits?
Ichisan: “I can’t really answer this question. In my view, I say yes, but I can’t really speak for everyone.”
7. Tell us a little about your performances. Do your sets differ from night to night? Do you improvise at all based on the vibe of the crowd?
Ichisan: “Yes, of course. I’m not the guy who is playing beginning to end the same tracks every venue. Actually I prepare 5 tracks, but the not the same as say last night. That’s how I start, and then I just go through the set and jam. I’m always watching the crowd. When I see what kind of music they’re hooked to, then I just go that way. On the second half of the tour with these guys [Boombox], I like to start off slow, maybe 110 bpms, slowly going up with the tempo. You know, you can’t open the show with a banger.”
8. Yeah I hear you. Well congratulations on a sold out show! I’ve never seen this place sell out before. Boombox brought a lot in, but you had a lock on that crowd second set, and don’t you forget it! Speaking of the live aspect, tell us about the synthesizer collection you record with? Do you use any analogue?
Ichisan: “Yeah for sure. I have the Oberhiem 0B8, um I have a couple synths actually. I have the Juno 106, everybody has that synth and a small Roland SH9 which is a base actually. Um, I played some new tracks I recently made which are gonna be released later this year, and I used that small synth a lot. It’s a good synth for those lead and bass sounds. Let’s see, I have a Moog prodigy, and Fender guitars, uh a stratocaster and jazz bass.”
9. Yeah, you record with live instruments mostly, correct?
Ichisan: “I try to record as much as I can with as much live instruments. So I record with a lot of guitars and bass, and the snyths. Especially on the new record.”
10. One of the most notable characteristics of your mixes is the fluidity and mystery to your tracks. You hear some of these other chart mixes, and lot of the songs tend to bleed over. What is your tracklist process like?
Ichisan: “I’m really glad to hear that man! Actually I didn’t know that about these tracks. All the tracks, well a lot of the tracks, are like European producers or maybe English guys, or producers in the Norwegian scene. I love the Norwegian sound right now. It’s funny like Todd Terje is not so big here, well he is here a little, but Prins Thomas not so much. He is HUGE is Europe!”
11. Yeah I know it’s crazy! Todd Terje is starting to make his mark over here. Prins Thomas though, no, and it’s so weird because he’s playing like 11 hour sets over in Europe and doing all this great stuff.
Ichisan: “Yeah it’s funny to me that I’m here, but Prins Thomas is not. It’s ridiculous actually.”
12. We really enjoy the spacey side to your music, but we’ve noticed you get really heavy on the disco vibe as well. Which is your favorite to play? You have a very good blend of both.
Ichisan: “Yeah actually, when I’m doing clubs I usually do more disco stuff, more disco-house stuff. When I’m recording these mixes, I’m recording them more for listening and less for the dancey stuff. I mean I also like mixing them, from space sounds, to these disco sounds, to techno, and stuff I play live.”
13. That makes sense. I’ve met fans who go to bed and rise in the morning to your music. What do you like to wake up to?
Ichisan: “That’s a really hard question. I listen to so many kinds of music, so many genres, that’s really hard. Usually I’m not listening to electronic music when I’m home doing something. I like this Balearic stuff, spacey stuff you know?”
14. David Byrne presented his “Reverse Creation Theory” in his recent book on the analysis of music. This theory basically states that the common idea of a composer sitting alone in a room, getting a sudden rush of inspiration and furiously scribbling a masterpiece onto a piece of paper, is a false interpretation of writing music works. The theory contradicts that notion, arguing that music is product of environmental factors. What do you think are some the environmental factors in making the music you do?
Ichisan: “A hard question as well. That’s correct. Probably the music I’m listening to you know? The biggest influence. I don’t know, maybe also the country I’m coming from, formerly Yugoslavia, where I was born actually. You familiar with the story our country? Slovenia, where I live, is a former republic of Yugoslavia. The Yugo Tempo album I made with Nakova a while back, was inspired by our childhood. A lot of the tracks come from Yugoslavia country stuff. Maybe there’s some Yugoslavian funk in my music haha.”
15. The internet, social media, and places like Soundcloud have changed the face of music in it’s entirety. The free trade of music has subsequently changed the recording industry. What advice do you have for upcoming producers/musicians trying to make music professionally?
Ichisan: “The music trade is great. I would just say just don’t quit, just do it. Go for it. Upload music, put music up for people to hear. You need to have to some, I don’t know, luck as well, but just do it. Don’t stop, just go for it and it will happen.”
16. Where do you see your career a year from now?
Ichisan: “Oh that’s another hard question to answer! Uh, it’s this, yeah it really is. What I’m doing right now, playing in clubs and venues like this for you guys, just having a good time. I love it.”
Amphitheater and stadium shows have their merits, but in those situations the experience is limited to the music, and the individual listener perceiving it. In the end it is about what you endured, the musicians themselves might as well be silhouettes in the big arena context. Their emotional tie to the music being played is irrelevant on some level, because you don’t get to really see it. This also leaves the performer(s) in complete control of the situation. Sure this is always true; it is up to them to command your indulgence, but in a big arena you’re taking the human connection out of the equation. In that context, connection only occurs in the audience. With these smaller club shows, the playing field is much different. The musician is on your turf as much as you are on theirs, and they are forced to connect and take responsibility for your intrinsic reactions. The eyes of the fans and of the artist playing are much, much closer, and when they meet it is on a deeper level. In this context, if the musician gets a lock on you, it has a significant emotional payoff that you just can’t get in the bigger venues. Ichisan apparently has this concept down, as this was the case in his performances.
Having just culminated his North American tour with Boombox last night in the beautiful white mountains of Vermont, Ichisan will be heading home for now. His next EP is scheduled to be released on the Prins Thomas label, Internasjonal, this summer. Add that to the success he has had with multiple sold out shows over his stretch here, and we’re sure he can find an excuse to come back. Yes, the journey is far from over. Deathwaltz Media Group has their hands on him, and they’ve built a solid reputation for hearing the demands of the fans. You just might see him here in the States sooner than you think.
Umphrey’s McGee is a band. Simple statement right? Maybe a little too simple to the untrained eye, but it holds a lot of weight and it really means something. I’m speaking about raw talent, and the success of using it to it’s fullest potential. The spirit of “bandship” prevails in the digital age my friends. If the apocalypse occurred, and in the fallout our civilization was bereft of all technological luxuries, the members of UM would still be able to pick up acoustics and melt faces if they so desired. It’s true. They have never fallen into a significant rut, nor have they ever gone on hiatus. Musical preference aside, they are consistent, and that is a crucial factor in the success of a jamband. Right now the band is smack in the middle of a tour that will stretch into their New Years Run in Colorado, and they’ve already announced dates with Kung Fu in February. This is why they currently rank as one of the top touring jambands in the country; They practice, and they play. Last Friday night I got to catch the guys perform at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA for their 87th show this year.
The first set was nothing too fancy(pun intended) compared to past triumphs, but when it was good, it was really good. The “Le Blitz> 1348” show-opener took me back to John Travolta thrusting that epinephrine into Uma Thurman’s chest in Pulp Fiction, quite the rush. At least for the first five minutes. The adrenaline faded in the jam out of “1348”, until the crowd received their first drum solo via Kris Meyers that is. Still, Umphrey’s struck me more as a technical and diverse rock band rather than a dynamic jamband during the first set. They were holding something back. Out of the entire set, really only a few songs breached the confines of their written structure with extended improv. The jams themselves couldn’t seem to travel, and lacked the thematic, animated style they often perform with. Imagine a group of trapeze artists represents the improvised sections. They’d make the move forward and tread the line, but wouldn’t get very far before dropping into the safety net. They simply weren’t taking a lot of risks. To be honest Brendan Bayliss himself was a highlight. He really took the lead in the first set, proving himself in some of those solos as a truly brilliant guitarist. “Red Tape” was short but impressive to say the least. Joel Cummings had a lot to say in the last 4 minutes or so, eventually providing a niche for Bayliss and percussionist Andy Faragto to “converse”. Although UM executed their songs well the first set just couldn’t reach the level they are capable of. The crowd didn’t seem to mind one bit though, the energy in the Calvin that night was insane. Bayliss commented on it twice, and guitarist Jake Cinninger later said it was the biggest crowd they’ve played for at the venue.
That energy eventually found it’s way to the stage in the 2nd set. The circus was live and alive. In a matter of seconds that stage went off like a detonated bomb was triggered by their instruments. They skipped the foreplay and commenced the set with the syncopated fury of “Nothing Too Fancy”. This is an aggressive tune that usually passes into lengthy territory, but instead they channeled that momentum to the Zappa-esque “Ringo”, melding the two into one long funky marathon. Finally pausing after a total 30 minutes of unrelenting funk and ferocity, Umphrey’s covered John Lennon’s deeply personal ballad, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”. More often than not these covers can come off as a tad gimmicky. Because bands like these spend so much time mastering the ins and outs of their own compositions(ex: transitions, sandwiches, palindrome setlists), they tend not to get too creative with the covers. Granted it’s not like you’re going to see the original musicians play it any time soon, but it often takes away time that could be used to develop a theme during one of their own songs. These guys don’t like to come up short though. UM didn’t play this classic outside of it’s original outline, but they did an absolutely phenomenal job performing it. The vocals were notably great, and naturally Cinninger and Bayliss nailed the guitar, which is crucial to that particular song. After exiting the heavenly embrace of “Dear Lord” and completing the transition back into “Der Bluten Kat”, they drifted into a psychedelic jam featuring a very skillful use of basically every noise you could make with guitar without actually fully strumming a chord or a note. This went on until it escalated into a full blown dance party, and ladies and gentlemen when Umphrey’s wants you too dance, you dance. The roof didn’t have a chance.
Up until the set closing cover of “Reelin’ In The Years” by Steely Dan, the 2nd set really didn’t include a lot of singing, rather almost pure jamming and working through compositions. It was magnificent. I had a hard time hearing Joel in the 2nd set for some reason. Upon listening to the soundboards he definitely put in some work that night. At one point Jake ripped into a two-minute solo using exclusively palm-mutes and harmonics that was stunningly deranged. With the full moon on Friday night, I bet if you looked close enough you could see Hendrix waving a white towel from above the clouds.
Watching these guys play, right in front of you, that’s where all the magic is. The way they correspond with each other, walking up to each other face to face as they play, and the places they go, it’s just as visually enticing as musically. There is a strong, chemical bond shared between each individual member. Bayliss and Cinninger play off of each other like a table tennis match between Olympic Gold Medalist Ryu Seung-Min and Forrest Gump. That kind of chemistry can’t be missed, and to see it wriggle and bounce and strike you the way it does is amazing. You can just tell they love what they do, they’re great at it, and they were born to do it together. I find it hard to imagine any connoisseur of music leaving totally unsatisfied last Friday night. All in all, Umphrey’s McGee played a 6.5/10
Setlist for 10/18/2013 @ The Calvin Theater- Northampton, MA Set 1- Le Blitz > 1348 > Example 1 > Slacker> Great American Partyin' Peeps Red Tape
Set 2- Nothing Too Fancy> Ringo I Want You (She's so Heavy) Der Bluten Kat> Dear Lord> Der Bluten Kat, Reelin' in the Years Encore: Den> Nothing Too Fancy
Last weekend will go down as one of the best of 2013, that we can guarantee you. If you weren’t in Philadelphia we assume it’s because a relative died or your girlfriend dumped you and in that case we are sorry for your loss. The 2nd Annual City Bisco took place at the gorgeous Mann Center again, featuring some tremendous performances from The Disco Biscuits and other huge acts. Deathwaltz Media showed the people they listen with this year’s official after parties at the Blockley. Last Friday and Saturday saw the first ever performances from Ichisan in the US, something that community of fans just couldn’t have seen coming. Philadelphia residents Brother’s Past performed their instrumental project BpM, along with performances from Plastic Plates, The Swiss, and Kung Fu, all weaved around multiple sets from the guest of honor. What better than a transition from the intensity of City Bisco to the comforting abyss of Ichisan? If there is such a level of satisfaction, it’s likely found in the solace that everyone else present that night was able to experience it.
When a fan is seeing a musician for the first time, there is a lot at stake. There is faith involved. With those unfamiliar the performance then falls into the category of first impressions, but they all might as well be. Everything is crucial. When you’re the type of listener that avidly views the beat through the frame of a spirited live environment, you’re constantly taking a risk in that pursuit. The risk that the musicians you’ve come wrap every spare moment of your day around can’t even perform their music well. For the followers, well…you may have heard the sermon, but you’ve yet to witness the miracle.
Igor Skafar, aka Ichisan respects that faith. He too had something at stake those two nights. This was a new world, a new audience. For all he knew two of his most dedicated fans lived in the USA and counted 400,000 license plates, 5 states, and 3 different gas pump numbers just to be standing in the Blockley that night. He had a responsibility. Friday night transcended above the shallow dimension of your run of the mill DJ set for a collection of reasons. He wasn’t there so much to put on a show, it was more like he was there to love the music with you. No lights, no effects, no costume, just a simple set of turntables, bare and raw and purely a celebration of music. Both parties were exchanging a huge part of each other in a moment of vulnerability. He and the crowd had no idea what to expect.
After The Disco Biscuits played their last set, and the chaos of exiting an amphitheater parking lot in the middle of Philadelphia was nearing an end, the epic theme of the night’s plot continued to unfold. Nestled in the corner of a weathered subdivision in the city sat The Blockely. Upon entering, Ichisan was just commencing his hour long set. I went in with no expectations being his first US show and my first time seeing him live, but I was instantly welcomed to the warm sounds of sonic bliss that he has come to trademark. Akin to his songs, mixes, and his branded flow, the performance resembled a living organism rather than a series of dance tunes. Each note thrives off the last. They breathe. He starts out with one rhythm and goes from there. A rolling synthesizer segment would begin to ascend, augmenting slightly with each step, then dropping back down low with a filter, then coming back up again with more emphasis and perhaps a new layer. The bass follows, snares roll, the cycle repeats until the sounds have fully evolved and you’re thrown into the eye of the storm. The notes continue to build on top of each other, new layers creeping through, and before you know it you’re already 30 minutes into it.
Ichisan’s compositions build patiently on themes and progressions, something that most electronic music doesn’t focus on, not for an entire mix at least. People tend to pool his style in with disco and house, a comparison that barely scratches the surface. Those labels merely serve as a silhouette. There are characteristics of those genres certainly, but the final product is far more intangible. Instead of fast paced, physically demanding dance beats, you’re being told a story. Ichisan is reading the book out loud, and the listener writes the words with each move made, and each place their mind goes when they hear it. This music plays on the emotion of the listener, whether or not you were feeling the way the artist was, the song put you on that plane. It’s powerful stuff. There were times in the set that seemed like a full throttle dance party. Others seemed like a portal to the deepest parts of your consciousness, coincidentally accompanied by a dance beat. It’s all part of a bigger picture, and that is what makes him so good, because he takes the separation out of the equation. Each track hits a specific part of the “soul”, and never hits the same place twice.
Aside from his seamless jumps from one universe to another, he was mixing live and on the fly. Like a good DJ does he played off the vibe off the crowd, improvising his track selection and mixing in different CD’s as the set moved forward. He did this void of any friction. There wasn’t a single point in the show where I heard a track outside his mix catalog and discography. If you we’re looking for an hour of floor-bangers and chart hits then this might not have been the set for you. He tested the crowd’s musical palette, and with great results. His mixture of “untz” and psychedelic atmospheres was oozing out of the speakers that night and he will surely be missed.
The venue itself didn’t pretend to be anything special. The distractions of art, decor, and glamor were not pressing issues. With nothing to command your attention but the music itself, the quality of his performance ventured further into relevancy. Ichisan delivered more than a satisfactory set. I don’t have any doubt that Saturday night’s performance was anything less. We got to speak after the set and Igor is truly a man of his fans. He was sincerely just as pleased to see his fans as they were to see him, and hopefully that connection will bring him back to US soon. Tits & Acid Reviews would really like to tip our hat to Deathwaltz Media Group as well for booking him in the first place. Til next time folks…