If your idea of a good musical time is dancing in front of a dark, elevated stage for 90 minutes while two shadowy 23-year-old Frenchmen — all but hidden behind their DJ consoles — manipulate a crazed world of beats and rhythms, then the Daft Punk show at the downtown Mayan on Wednesday was the place for you.
The music of the Paris-based duo combines familiar dance synthesizer sounds with ultra-mod twists and turns, ever-changing beats-per-minute, and — most importantly — a terrific sense of unpredictability and spontaneity that shows why Daft Punk has quickly been able to separate itself from the rest of the modern dance world.
In their rare concerts — this and Saturday’s Gotham appearance constitute their entire U.S. tour — very few individual songs distinguish themselves from the others; the various grooves generally start with simple, repetitive beats that slowly and methodically build and morph into fantastic electronic peaks, quickly blending into the next segment.
Adding to the intrigue was a giant white backdrop hanging behind the duo, onto which were projected a slideshow of trivial images (swimming fish, smiling girls, various logos, etc.), the motions of which were often synched to the song’s beat. During “Burnin’,” a cut taken from “Homework” (Virgin), the group’s critically acclaimed debut album, visions of a fiery conflagration filled the entire stage, bringing cheers from the Beavis & Butt-head contingent.
The near-packed house all but ignored the two musicians on stage, but instead were effectively caught up in the multimedia spectacle of it all, confirming that the two Daft Punkers are indeed very good at what they do.