Concert Review: Mathew Jonson at Electric Pickle, August 28
Friday, August 28, 2009
Electric Pickle, Miami
Better than: Any mere DJ set (as in records being spun) or any other "live PA", for that matter, in recent memory.
I really can't sing enough praise for the Electric Pickle's consistent quality of electronic dance bookings since the venue opened in March, and Friday night was far from being an exception. By midnight the downstairs lounge was bumpin' with the smooth, sultry, bouncy sounds of Magic City Disco Machine: resident deep house specialist Strickly B, along with Tomas of Aquabooty and that night's special guest, DJ Terron Darby. But as enjoyable as the vibe got to be downstairs, it was only getting us all worked-up for the highly-anticipated action about to go down in the upstairs room.
Resident DJ Will Renuart opened upstairs around 1 a.m. with a slick set that cruised the gamut between funky minimal and the deeper end of progressive tech house, while the floor quickly got jam-packed with grooving bodies. It set the melodic stylistic tone for what would ensue as soon as Mathew Jonson got behind his monster of a mixing desk. Yes, that's mixing desk, as in one of those ginormous 32 channel consoles that recording engineers use in the studio when they're working with a freakin' orchestra! That, plus the handful of analog drum machines and assorted gadgetry in Jonson's arsenal, hinting at the mind-bending sonic assault we were all about to receive.
Jonson came on a little after 2 a.m., and blew the roof off the damn place with a set that delivered all the promise only one of the most highly-acclaimed live techno acts in the world can provide in the most intimate of settings. Don't ask me to go into specifics about what this mad scientist was doing behind his desk, I can only recount the effect that it had on me and the other bopping sweaty maniacs on the dancefloor: a sound taking over minds, bodies and souls. Hard jacked-up breakbeats and thick serpentine basslines affecting the lower regions of the body -- the ass, hips, and feet -- while complex melodic arpeggios, moody atmospheric pads and jazzy haunting chord arrangements lifted arms and heads upwards towards the higher frequencies. A stellar and ground-shaking performance that won over an entire roomful of people through sheer musical might.
Personal Bias: Disc jockeying is certainly an art onto itself, but give me a techno producer that can pull off a wicked live club set using hardware and real-time programming, and I am sold on their genius.
Random Detail: The Pickle's small upstairs room becomes a real sweat box during peak club hours. But I ain't complaining, that's the perfect setting for a proper late-night dance session, losing yourself in a sea of sweaty jacking bodies while the pristine vibrations from that superb Dynacord sound system caress the air all around you.
By the Way: Mathew Jonson's next stop is Burning Man Festival in Nevada, for any of your crazies headed west for the burn this week.