The house trio X-Press 2 made its debut West Coast performance riding high on the success of the single “Lazy,” the grooviest cut from recent release “Muzikizum” (Columbia/Skint). Unlike the single — which meshes David Byrne’s instantly recognizable, nonchalant vocals with a pumping, upbeat bass line for instant dance-floor nirvana — the group’s set was largely bereft of artistic prowess, with the threesome concentrating instead on repeating tired techno cliches.
Grooves often started with lead man Ashley Beedle pumping out a boom-boom-boom backbeat, accentuated with percussion licks spun by Diesel and Rocky’s rising, oscillating-siren drone. Though he occasionally employed filters, Beedle’s attempts at dynamic shifts fell flat, dropping the scattered crowd’s energy instead of lifting it with artistic builds. When the group clicked into a groove, it was only for a moment or two; they rarely gave themselves a chance to build a song from the ground up. Instead, they delivered the same repetitive, 120-beat-per-minute stereotypical thumps often heard on film soundtracks. Adrenaline-fueled, yes, but interesting? Not really.
The sole exception was a midset foray into the Eurythmics’ chestnut “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Beedle began by spinning the tune’s instantly recognizable synth line while the other two DJs layered sounds on top of it, adding syncopated congas and swooping effects before Beedle dropped in Annie Lennox’s vocals. The final result was an impromptu jam on the song’s drum-roll transition, and the only successful remix of the night.