Friday Night: Fatboy Slim at LIV

Categories: Concert Review
photo by Maria Perez
Fatboy Slim
Friday, June 19, 2009
LIV at the Fontainebleau, Miami Beach

Better Than: paying $70 worth of parking tickets.

The Review: Let me start off by warning Crossfade readers that this review might get a bit ugly. I'll do my best to remain as objective as possible about the music (after all that's what I'm really addressing here) but I'm afraid my personal bias and general distaste for LIV can't spare the venue. It was my first time at this jaw-droppingly ostentatious nightclub and, as such, I arrived with a relatively blank slate. I didn't even make it past the ticketing booth, however, before the first negative impression set in.

On top of an already ridiculous presale price of $45 for this show, patrons found themselves shelling out a whopping $70 per person at the door. Now, all recession whines aside, $70 to watch a dude spin records for a couple hours is frankly outrageous. I mean, shit, that amount will practically get you a day pass to Ultra!

There's just something about this scenario that is so far removed from the libertine, anti-establishment spirit of rave culture which artists like Norman Cook helped foment back in its heyday. That was, of course, back when electronic dance music gatherings were a fuck you to cover charges and nightclub curfews and it was all about the music. And Friday night's scenario was certainly a far cry from the populist Fatboy Slim who once delighted hundreds of thousands of ravers at his free outdoor concerts in Brighton Beach, U.K. in the early 2000s.

I don't have anything good or bad to say about Shinichi Osawa, the world-renowned Japanese DJ who opened for Fatboy. His set was unremarkable, if adequately in tune with the mainstream sensibilities of the $18-cocktail-guzzling, Prada-clad, jet-setting demographic gracing LIV's dancefloor. In other words, your standard big-room commercial dance fare. He did, however, show craftsmanship, precision, and plenty of giddy buildups and breakdowns to keep the otherwise jaded crowd enthralled.

Fatboy Slim came on around 2 a.m. and put on a raucous set with some of the most unseemly track selections I have ever heard in a big-room venue. The guy actually kicked off his set with Stealers Wheel's "Stuck In The Middle With You!" If that wasn't dumbfounding enough, he intermittently dropped random Spanish pop tracks, including, if I'm not mistaken, something by the Gypsy Kings.

I think I know what the dude was trying to do -- he probably figured, "I'm in Miami, I'll be endearing to my mostly Latin audience and humor them with some Spanish shit." Problem is, if you're paying $70 and you have any discerning taste, you came to see Fatboy Slim, famous big beat/electronica producer, play some world class cutting-edge electronic music, not Carlos Vives, for chrissakes! The rest of his set was more of the same pop dirge with a couple of his more recognizable hits thrown in, like "Right Here, Right Now."    

Personal Bias: When it comes to sensible unpretentious nightlife and quality music, I've written off South Beach by this point. Let the clueless tourists have it.

Random Detail: About an hour into Fatboy's set, the music shut down and the house lights came on for an awkward five minutes or so -- some apparent technical difficulty at the DJ booth.

By the Way: DJ Erick Morillo is scheduled to play at LIV on the night of Saturday, July 4.

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