Arrived at State Theatre fairly late Friday night and was surprised to find that neither of the European headliners had performed yet; they'd apparently been held up at the airport. Local DJ Terrence Kissner was doing his best to keep the crowd entertained with a fun and funky mix of quirky techno, but the fairly slim turnout meant that despite his best efforts not a lot of dance-floor action was going on. When Ada finally took over her pile of gear, the place had filled up a bit and the vibe had started to feel more like a party. She was playing live rather than DJing, but unlike almost all live electronic performers these days, she wasn't working off a laptop. Not that that changes much in terms of the sounds coming out, but the live approach does make it easier to see how she's actually putting tracks together.
Ada started strong, lost momentum by heading into the deeper side of her sound a little too early, but managed to get the crowd back on her side when she brought out the big melodic riffs during the latter half of her set. Unfortunately, though her vocals are one of the more appealing parts of her productions, she didn't sing anything live. But considering that singing in a dance club is often a crapshoot sound-wise, she may have made the right call.
By the time Dominik Eulberg took over the turntables, the club had started to look empty again. Sure enough, a decision was made to shut down the party five songs into Eulberg's set, much to the disappointment of the heads who'd stuck around to hear him.
Spen spins, Stingily sings
Garage 416 and Milk teamed up once again Friday night to bring a couple of soulful house heavyweights to 99 Sudbury -- namely Baltimore's DJ Spen (formerly of the Basement Boys) and vocalist Byron Stingily (best known for his work with Ten City). Like the party at State Theatre, the turnout was weaker than expected, though to be fair, many people prefer heading out of the city for the weekend over attending midsummer parties in the smoggy downtown. Stingily took to the stage after a warm-up set by Spen and launched straight into his classic hits, which were met with much hollering and hands in the air. Sound issues with his mic plagued his set; initially it was cutting in and out and barely audible. After that was fixed, the music was too low in relation to his singing. Nevertheless, Stingily's still a strong performer and enough of a pro to play through these issues without letting the frustration show.
Spen took over for the rest of the night, pumping out his signature mix of uplifting soulful vocals with funky bumpin' beats, which he mixed with confidence and finesse. Vibe-wise it still felt like something was missing, but you could blame that on the oppressive heat and low turnout, which has a way of sucking the energy out of any party.