Friday Night: Mr. Oizo Thumps Parisian Bangers at 103 Harriet

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Mr. Oizo
Boyz IV Men
NastyNasty
December 3, 2010
@ 103 Harriet

Better than:
A 10-hour flight to Paris.

Before the rise of Justice, Crookers, and, um, Ke$ha, Mr. Oizo (along with Daft Punk) was laying the foundation for the crunchy, electro-influenced sound sometimes referred to as bloghouse. Favoring distortion, abrupt rhythmic starts and stops, and plenty of stutters, Oizo's productions helped to move French house -- and the Paris club scene -- from its smooth disco roots into an abrasive new world of aggressive dance sounds.

Now, as we near the end of 2010, music critics and the Internet world may have cooled a little on the sub-genre, but the real world appeal of electro and house in U.S. clubs and concert venues is still going strong (as evidenced by the rise of the HARD Music Festival). So it was only appropriate that on a calm Friday night, Mr. Oizo saw fit to touch down at 103 Harriet and transform the evening into a proper party, complete with plenty of noise and light.

A little before 1 a.m., Oizo emerged behind a wall of DJ gear and flashing lights, giving off the aura of irreproachable Parisian cool (one need look no further than the unlit cigarette he let rest between his lips for the first 20 minutes). Wasting little time getting into his set, Oizo ran through all the current variants in house music. Whether it was big rave melodies, wobbly electro synths, bouncy deep-house drums or the minimal atmosphere of UK funky, Oizo was determined to give the crowd a taste of it all.
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But Oizo wasn't just content to mix one track into the other, as he put his own mark on each track, chopping, rolling, stuttering, and editing his way though each song. And he'd occasionally insert a track or two of his own, drawing big yells from the crowd. In fact, the only complaint one can really lodge against Mr. Oizo would be the moments where he'd take the low hanging musical fruit, such as playing Daft Punk's "Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger." That track is a crowd pleaser to be sure, but it's not too different from playing Michael Buble for senior citizens -- it's too easy.

As the show went on, and those in the crowd drank more, the party evolved into a sauna of sweaty bodies, moving more frantically than someone infected by the holy spirit. And inevitably, the night ended with the shitshow of those people who just say "fuck it" after last call, and let the world bear witness to their sloppy makeout sessions. By 3 a.m., as the crowd began to thin out, and those remaining seemed to be on their last legs, Oizo wrapped up his set and escaped into the night, likely pleased with his outing in S.F.

Critic's Notebook

Gut check:
While most people were content to jump and fist pump their way through Boyz IV Men's dance-friendly live set, I was forced to consider a slightly inebriated woman who decided the space right in front of my feet was a good place to unload the contents of her stomach. This was unfortunate. Such is life.

Culture clash: Contemporary R&B has unleashed full-scale invasion on dance music this year (in a good way), and the opening set from NastyNasty was no exception. Though he still favored the big, brooding sounds of dubstep, he embellished his mix with vocal samples from the likes of Aaliyah, among others.

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