Last Night Blowing It
posted by June 29 at 15:09 PMon
Le Castle Vania, Chromatics @ Chop Suey
Poor Chromatics. They really should’ve gone on before Le Castle Vania at Club Pop last night. Chromatics’ Italo disco is certainly dance floor friendly, but it’s also pretty clean, minimal, and relaxed compared to the relentless bangers of Le Castle Vania’s DJ set. There was no way they were going to keep up that momentum, especially with 10 or 15 minutes of transition time between them. And, although the Chromatics are a totally awesome band, Le Castle Vania is the one with all the busy-patterned hoodie internet hype behind him—the crowd thinned noticeably after his set. Finally, and most importantly, the sound was totally fucked by the time Chromatics took the stage.
By the second song of Le Castle Vania (aka Dylan Eiland)’s set, the bass bins were blowing it, farting and rattling and sound like utter shit. It wasn’t obvious whether Eiland had blown them—I only got there as soon as his set was starting—but it was obvious he was pushing the sound system hard. The sound guy and the other DJs had to repeatedly get on stage and bring his levels down to keep the sound clear, and every time Eiland eventually ratcheted the mix back up. It’s strange, because I’ve never known the Chop Suey sound system to be anything less than overwhelming, at least for electronic acts and DJs.
Eiland’s set was relentless and seamless, moving from his own productions and remixes of Snowden and 120 Days to electro anthems by Mylo, Freeform Five, and Riot in Belgium to remixes of Bloc Party, Chromeo, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. His set was all anthems, really. The energy never dipped for a minute, the young, fashionable crowd went wild, storming and then surrendering the stage, and Eiland spent much of the set alternately head-banging and wiping the lopsided hair out of his face (hey, we’ve all been there). But his big climax—a one-two-three punch of the Gossip’s “Standing in the Way of Control” (Soulwax Nite Version, natch), the Rapture’s “House of Jealous Lovers,” and Daft Punk’s “Around the World”—lost much of its impact as Daft Punk’s thumping kicks came out as painfully blasted “thbbbbbts.”
Chromatics, joined by Glass Candy/Portland Italo svengali Johnny Jewel on bass, got in maybe three songs (including “Hands in the Dark” and “In The City”) before giving up. Their new singer was anemic and listless, and it occurred to me that the seeming interchangeability of Chromatics’ female singers doesn’t really speak all that highly of their contributions to the band. Initially, the Chromatics sounded great—perhaps Eiland had just been pushing the system too hard—but during their second song, blasts of static cut through their mix, overpowering their carefully cool sound. It was so much worse than the crackling DI boxes Jewel had to deal with at the Comet last Thursday—what must that man think of Seattle’s sound systems?—and after another song fraught with interference, the band apparently lost all sound whatsoever. Jewel twice leaned into the audience with his keyboard, inviting audience members to try to make a noise—it actually worked the first time, but then immediately cut out again—before packing it in. It was the second deflated climax of the night. The band stood on stage silent and awkward for another minute, before exchanging a sad, sarcastic high five.