Electronic music took a big step toward further respectability and marketability Friday at a jam-packed Palladium, where local heroes Crystal Method and rising stars Propellerheads dominated a lineup that also included some of the genre’s best DJs performing on alternating ends of the cavernous hall.
Event aped the highly popular but still underground “rave” culture that fills downtown warehouses every weekend, but this venue’s early curfew and extreme body search meant that few real ravers bothered. The usual props, costumes and open drug use were all curtailed, though the occasional face mask was evident and one partygoer worked the room in a cartoonish space suit.
The five-hour, nonstop show climaxed the Propellerheads’ high-energy hourlong set. Signed to DreamWorks here in the States, the Bath, England, duo worked live bass and drums into an explosive dance gala that captured the imagination of even the most jaded attendee.
Closers Crystal Method (which record for Outpost Recordings) were met by a roar from the crowd, and delivered throbbing, rock-steady beats that slowly built up to transcendent musical pinnacles. Fatboy Slim (Astralwerks) utilizied subtle, easy grooves to weave his spell, highlighted by club hit “Goin’ Out of My Head.”
The most captivating and entertaining DJ to watch was 1500 Records artist David Holmes. His low-key hand action belied the furious hip-hop dubs and loops that turned songs from such familiar groups as Beastie Boys into exciting new conceptions. From Rockville, Md., B.T. (Kinetic/Reprise) offered his trademark style of soundscape mixing, creating the most “visual” of the evening’s selections.
Event lacked the reckless abandon of the real thing, but the trouble-free evening did prove that there in fact is plenty of gold waiting to be mined in the electronic dance world.