Friday Night: ¡Mayday! at Transit Lounge

Categories: Concert Review
MaydayTransit1.jpg
BernBiz and ¡Mayday! blow up at Transit on Friday
¡Mayday! 
Friday, June 19, 2009 
Transit Lounge, Miami 

Better than: A photo of yourself. 

The Review: Sometimes a club fills with 400 and every single one seems to be starring in his or her own personal reality show. That was the scene at Transit Friday night. The entire crowd came armed with Elphs, iPhones, or Rebels, snapping self-portraits. Although, not everyone was modeling only for themselves. Flat-chested chicks flashed non-existent cleavage for random dude photo-ops while, nearby, a dozen amateur videographers shot footage of b-boys practicing secret jive handshakes. Then, there was me, taking notes on the narcissistic swarm and their general fetish for auto-documentation. 

Even headliners ¡Mayday! joined the orgy of instant nostalgia, having hired a three-man HDV camera crew to capture the landmark moment of their Technology EP release party. However, there wasn't much to tape in the run-up to the main event. From 11 p.m., DJs Sharpsound and Vega spun classic hip hop (Skee-Lo, Jay-Z, Outkast, etc.) while the assembled cross-section of downtown and Brickell types, both males and females, sucked back soda-booze mixes between posing for pics. The house momentarily came alive during a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song sing-along, before scratch kid DJ I-Dee, wearing a neon Gandhi T-shirt, quieted things down again with a 20-minute exercise in dance-rock deconstructionism. 

Another half-hour lull later and the throng had finally grown bored, sick of entertaining itself. So the rarely seen master of ceremonies took the stage and swiped the mike, totally ready to reclaim the party. But the DJ miscued, killing the rap muzak. And that's all it took: a chant of "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" cutting through the crowd while the MC waved his hands helplessly. 

Without hesitation though, the lights went dead and ¡Mayday! streaked onto Transit's small corner stage, like weird apocalyptic paratroopers in black bodysuits and gas masks. Harsh white stage beams sliced through total darkness, a pair of breakdancing hype-men battled shadows with flashlights, and the band pounded through a five-minute, free-beat instrumental intro. Anonymous bodies bumped me and I bumped them. Loose groups left the bar, booths emptied, and the parking lot patio became half-abandoned. Everyone flooded the warehouse-like interior, quickly clotting into a single sweaty mass, dancing where we could and pogo-ing where we couldn't. 

Suddenly, the lights returned and every member of ¡Mayday! had somehow finished a full wardrobe change. With his Rick Rubin beard and bald head, piano man Plex Luthor stood behind twin keyboards in a red tiger t-shirt. Three other band members, stripped back to their street clothes, manned a bongo rack, a second key deck, and a five-piece drum kit.

The crew's vocal duo -- BernBiz in red Wayfarers and Wreckonize in a huge hoodie -- materialized out of the still-dark crowd, launching into a breakneck burst of old faves that bled from "Let Go" into "On 2 Someth'n" into "The Future is Now." There was more sweat-soaked dancing, pogo-ing, and body bumping.

At the edge of the stage, there were the camera guys and the bloggers. Then, there were those who had turned inexplicably away from the band, pointing their Elph/iPhone/Rebel at themselves or into nowhere, using the camera flash as nothing more than a party strobe. But center stage, there was Wrekonize, stopping for a second of silence before shouting: "Who's ready for something new?" 

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Off the fresh slab of ¡Mayday! material, "Junkyard Dog" is a serious stand-out.  

Random Detail: The side-alley, band-and-press-only backstage area was empty, except for a couple feasting on each other's faces. I interrupted their vicious make-out session. They sneered. And I left. 

By the Way: You could go full pirate and download Technology at mayday.bandcamp.com for free. Or you could be an honest, pay-for-play fan and get it through iTunes. Either way, it's on you.


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