JAMIE LIDELL with JIMMY EDGAR at Lee's Palace, April 21. Tickets: $18. Attendance: 500. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Had it been your first electronic show, you might have thought opener Jimmy Edgar (aka Kristuit Salu, aka Morris Nightingale) was frantically looking for something as he jittered between laptop and samplers aboard the Lee's Palace stage.
With his mussed hair, glasses and wild button-pushing, 20-year-old Detroit kid Edgar evoked the Russian super-nerd villain blown up by Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye. Edgar's music - high-decibel glitched-down Dr. Dre-synth skittery electronica - emphasized his dark powers.
His double-time raps got a futuristic sound from his little headset microphone and digital filters and cut through the middle of his eardrum-withering blast.
While Edgar was intentionally just sampling his voice as an extra layer of percussion, it might have increased our interest to hear what he was saying. His short-length loops over syncopated, distorted drums, quickly accelerated until they were grating blobs of too-busy discordance that lasted minutes too long, eventually climaxing in an unpleasant mix of boring and loud.
Warp's UK-based electro-soul anomaly, Jamie Lidell , brought a friendlier presence. Resembling a modern Austin Powers in thick-framed glasses and a pervy brown trenchcoat tied at the waist, the animated singer pushed a button and set it off over the Motown-slow-jam drum kit and smooth bass line of Game For Fools.
With his soulful tenor and emotive trills, he wailed pitch-perfectly, wagging his head as he sang. Everyone seemed pleasantly surprised by his showmanship. Briefly, the enthusiastic Feist collaborator dedicated The City to his time living in Berlin.
Carrying on with the frenetic body language and emphatic chest-slaps, he then broke into the beatboxed noisefest that would characterize the rest of the night. He looped himself doing his breaks on his laptop, then sang over them, multi-layering and building tracks up into pounding, avant-garde versions of his songs.
He did You Got Me Up, What's The Use (with Eminem's Guilty Conscience beat), When I Come Back Around, moving all over, putting the mic to an audience member, sitting centre-stage and inviting Jimmy Edgar back for a collaboration.
It was pretty fun for a while, but the impressive novelty of his live-production techno gimmicks wore thin before the end.