Friday Night: Lindstrom Makes Sonic Love at the Mezzanine



Friday, November 12
@ The Mezzanine

Better than: The music Larry Craig must listen to in his pre-clubbing bubble baths before entering the "bathroom seduction" mindstate.

The hype: Norwegian DJ Lindstrom comes to America every couple of blue moons. His current tour of America, for example, consists of only three shows. This is a shame, because his epic space-rock textures and lush productions channel sensuality and cosmic emotions -- vibes lacking in more popular and confrontational electronica forms such as dubstep and rave music. This is music to make love to.

Miscellaneous openers: a series of similar-minded neo-disco and space-rock copycats, each with their own variation on Wish You Were Here-style jamming and laser beam walls of sound.

The exception: Publicist delivered something different. His pummeling, sinister robot-rock attacked the audience by contrasting with the sensory love-making that dominated most of the night's performers. It was the sort of high-octane, electric cacophony that inserts a speed-ball into your brain, the kind that can entrance even the most tame crowd members into violent gyrating. Part of this performance's intensity might come from the mesmerizing image of a visceral one-man machine manipulating drums, vocoder, and technology at rapid-fire pace. Every male in the crowd witnessing this tesosterone-fueled, shirtless beast probably felt his inner-warrior waking up and angrily questioning why the external self hasn't killed a boar recently.

Fear the beard: But while the openers all seemed to roll well with the Mezannine crowd's usual approach to music (if it grooves, it's good), everyone seemed to be there to see Lindstrom. He took the stage rather subtly and immediately began working on a slow-moving journey through the cosmos. I closed my eyes and visualized riding a flying purple bean bag on the rings of Saturn with a big gulp of chardonnay.

Set and setting: Between the leather couches and a perfectly engineered sound system that could hold onto the bass rumble and high clarity even in the back of the venue, listening to Lindstrom in person sorta felt like sitting in front of the THX logo before watching a high-definition film in IMAX. I wish I had brought sunglasses.

Overheard in the crowd (worst diet advice ever): The "no-food" diet -- guaranteed weight loss! (made all the more horrifying by the fact that the person who was receiving the advice already looked borderline anorexic).

Hobo observations: The alley where The Mezzanine is (400 block of Jessie street) has more than a few resident hobos. It's rather striking to see the well-dressed elite club types lined up in front of people who are struggling for dinner.

Overheard outside:"Is that woman wearing a mask?" "No, it's just an old Asian lady."

Personal bias: My opinion that the sexier and sleeker a production is, the better the music. If Puff Daddy took acid, he would probably create these gradually evolving, future-pop slow-jams. (The similar-minded sound values on Bad Boy Records are one of my guilty pleasures.)

The difference: It's not just Puff Daddy, it's Puff Daddy taking acid. All of the superficial associations of high production-value club music are washed away by the progressive, psychedelic feel -- and the patience necessary -- to follow Lindstrom's long journeys. This isn't Star Wars; it's more like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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