MacBook Pros and MIDI controllers were the weapons of choice at the Rickshaw Stop on Wednesday night, where fans of beat-laden electronic music gathered in droves to groove out to the sounds of Teen Daze, The One AM Radio, Giraffage, and Slow Magic. The all-ages show attracted a diverse crowd, including a 7-year-old birthday boy who’s mother had brought him to his first concert.
Although the crowd didn’t start to fill in until around 10pm, fans who arrived early were treated to the most exciting performance of the night. Slow Magic is a mysterious no-name, no-face, drum and samples project, who kicked off the evening with an impressive set of live drumming over electronic loops. Armed with a stand-up bass drum, a laptop, and a MIDI controller, Slow Magic performed his entire set wearing a handmade, rainbow-colored zebra mask. Communicating with the audience only through hand singles and body language, he moved his drum onto the floor to bang it out among the crowd for two separate tracks. It seemed like very few audience members even knew who he was, but they were certainly blown away by the spectacle.
San Francisco’s very own Giraffage, the glitched-out dream pop project of Charlie Yin, took the stage next. Charlie threw down a no-frills set of ethereal dance music using an Akai MPD32 MIDI controller hooked up to a MacBook Pro with a Bandcamp sticker slapped onto it. His use of sexy samples, impressive finger work, and well-timed breaks were more than enough to keep the crowd engaged. Although perhaps not a hundred percent of his glitches were intentional, they offered a dynamic and exciting bent to the Giraffage live experience.
Next to perform was LA duo The One AM Radio. Despite the pair’s one-of-these-artists-is-not-like-the-others vibe, they offered an enjoyable set of dreamy dance-rock with a combination of electronic and live instrumentation in front of a backdrop featuring a black-and-white montage of French New Wave clips. Frontman Hrishikesh Hirway was the only artist of the night to incorporate live vocals into a performance, giving the duo’s set a more emotional vibe. His stage-mate provided backup vocals and live guitar, while Hirway sang in front of his laptop and MIDI, occasionally sporting maracas.
Bringing a close to the night, the audience was treated to a fantastic performance from Teen Daze, the one-man electronic dance project of a friendly Vancouver native named Jamison. Once looped-in with the chillwave craze of 2010 with his breakout Ten More Years EP, Teen Daze has developed his own brand of fun and groovy dance pop. Foregoing the vocals on his brand new album, All Of Us, Together, Jamison’s set focused on glowing beats and breakdowns to get the crowd moving. Using an Akai APC controller hooked up to a MacBook Pro, Teen Daze performed cuts from his new album, keeping the crowd dancing all the way through his finale of “Let’s Groove,” a particularly funky remix of an Earth, Wind, and Fire song. Jamison’s personable demeanor shined through his performance, leaving the crowd smiling and satisfied from a night of chilled-out dancing.
Overall, the show was blast, bringing an end to the artists’ California tour together. Teen Daze is headed back up to Canada next, with additional summer tour dates scheduled in the East Coast and the Midwest.