No matter what you think of globe-trotting electro-sleaze party Club Filth , it's definitely found a formula that draws a crowd. The combination of big-name DJs, surreal sexually charged performances and the promise of free beer (thanks to some corporate sponsorship) helped create a huge lineup early Friday and for most of the night.
You had to feel for those stuck waiting forever outside the Great Hall only to find the party ending abruptly shortly after 2 am, and then having to stand in line with hundreds of partiers to retrieve their belongings from the coat check.
If the Great Hall continues to be receptive to hosting dance music events like this, organizers will have to figure out how they deal with the crowds. The space, however, is gorgeous enough that most people will be willing to put up with some inconveniences.
This party was held on the top floor and was spread over two rooms. I was not that impressed with the tunes Junior Sanchez was laying down in the main room, although he's undeniably skilled at what he does. Over in the side room, however, Aaron LaCrate had the crowd going off for his eclectic urban selections and definitely had more of a real party mood going on.
For better or worse, events with this much push behind them tend to attract an extremely wide mix of people -- from scenesters to curiosity-seekers -- which can make for a weird vibe. If too many bodies are standing around expecting to be entertained, it's harder for everyone to let loose and get into it.
Not something you'd want to go to every weekend, but girls on trampolines and people in shark costumes simulating sex are more interesting than the spectacle most nights are offering.
In recent years, French electronic trio DAT Politics have been moving more and more toward pop and further from their more experimental beginnings, so it wasn't that surprising to see them looking almost like a rock band onstage at the Drake Underground Friday night. These days they sound kind of like a digital Ramones -- bubblegum pop sped up and distorted, messy and aggressive but still light-hearted and verging on goofy. Claude Pailliot and Gaëtan Collet handled the microphone duties and roamed the stage, while Vincent Thierion kept the beats going from the main laptop. Collet had a keyboard that he wore like a guitar, but it seemed mainly for show; most of the melodies continued whether he bothered to pound on it or not.
Occasionally, he'd hit an effect pedal and use his voice like a distorted synth, and Pailliot picked up a MIDI controller at one point to twist some knobs and generate some electronic chaos, but you got the sense they weren't going to veer much from the pre-sequenced backing tracks.
Regardless of how "live" it was, having the two of them fronting the band rather than all of them hiding behind laptops was a good thing.
It was a fun show (in an obnoxious kind of way), but it's hard to imagine stretching out what they do longer than the short set they played. After a while, all the manic video-game riffs start sounding the same, as do the crunchy breakbeats.