Saturday Night: Konrad Black at Glass
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Glass, Miami Beach
Better than: Certainly anything else going on in the Beach that night.
The turnout for Konrad Black's show on Saturday night could have been much greater given the hype. But it was Valentine's, after all, and most people were probably either at home making whoopee or at the meat markets looking to get some. This means the few people in attendance were actual fans of the music, not extras. As usual the quality vs. quantity of heads in the crowd worked to its advantage, making it more intimate and positively receptive.
The fairly swanky and exclusive club Glass struck me as an unseemly choice of venue for the type of underground techno booking we usually get downtown, but it turned out to be a pretty well-suited space for this type of show -- contained without being too cramped, plus having ample floor space to boogie around in. The drinks were also surprisingly affordable by SoBe standards, thus consumed more liberally, thus upping the disposition to rock out and dance. Not that the music needed beerphones, because it was exceptionally funky to begin with.
Local DJ Alejandro Sab opened on decks and treated us to a mix of engrossing minimal grooves with lots of killer syncopated rhythmic transitions to keep the crowd on its toes. Sadly, the club seemed even emptier by the time Konrad Black came on at a little past 2 a.m. My first impression on hearing him play was realizing how mistaken I was in categorizing his music as minimal techno when there is so much more to it in terms of structure and tone, and even more that defies easy categorization.
The drum & bass and hip hop influences are immediately apparent in Black's productions, especially in his use of percussive breaks and his distinct bass stylings. There is also much more of a forward momentum to the beat, unlike minimal which generally just sort of bounces and skips along rhythmically. The way the bass and percussive elements play off each other and are held together by this sort of moody atmospheric ambiance is captivating and hypnotic. The music resonates emotionally while affecting you viscerally and inducing you to move. Certainly more substance to this stuff than your average EDM. It was a superb set and a damn shame more people didn't stop by to show support!
Personal Bias: I simply had a good time.
Random Detail: Some sort of technical difficulty arose at the DJ booth at one point in Black's set. You could see him rearranging cables and trying to fix something while the same loop played over and over again for what seemed like 10 minutes. Funnily, minimal is the one genre where you can get away with playing a loop repeatedly for minutes at a time and not necessarily get anyone to notice the difference.
By The Way: Fans should stay tuned for WATERGATE03 - KONRAD BLACK coming out in March 2009.