I was too busy watching a line of uncoordinated two-steppers sync up to notice MSTRKRFT had begun. It’s one part my ability to be mesmerized by a dance move, but more so, part MSTRKRFT’s failure to begin with anything but typical EDM music. There was no great beginning with ‘Bounce’ off Fist of God showing the crowd just how good MSTRKRFT is at perfecting the mix between lyrical hip-hop samples and an electronically produced – makes you do anything faster – punk sound.
Instead the whole set focused on Jesse Keeler and Al-P ability to avoid their own albums and hoping the crowd wouldn’t notice, which the wide-eyed, group-hugging, hand-staring ones didn’t. Maybe they were all bewitched by the amazing – should of just headlined – Kytami.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I heard of the Victorian violinist who amalgamated an electronic and classical sound, the picture in my head was more long skirts and gypsy accessories swaying to some synthesized violin. Despite wanting always avoid assumptions, this one was there. But when you go see Kytami, you see a bad-ass in a denim vest and black dress slaying over a violin like Jesse Keeler slays over his bass. There’s no doubt she would beat him in an arm wrestle, as her energy outmatched his earlier performance as half of Death from Above 1979 and half of MSTRKRFT.
While this is not a comparison, Jesse Keeler played this hour-long DFA set at Sugar Nightclub, an hour before walking on the stage at Distrikt. Before going to both shows (I did a double header too Jesse!), I planned to open with some words from Richard Williams – a famous animator. He said: “I’m trying to do is what they call a masterpiece, when you’ve mastered your medium you make a masterpiece” in the documentary Persistence of Vision. I thought this would be amazing by indicating Jesse Keeler’s mastery of two genres and performing them both in one night. Well this quotation does not apply after watching the second show. What was going through Keeler’s brain I can’t imagine, was it sheer exhaustion from a rocketing DFA performance? Or, was it just spinning dollar signs for capitalizing on two packed venues in one night?
Annoyance aside, most of the crowd was high and seemed to be satisfied with the performance. Yet, MSTKRFT fans could be heard grumbling throughout asking when any, if any, single would be played. At least the lighting technicians attempted to distract from this continued refusal by rotating prisms all about and putting on a show worthy of The XX’s caliber. The projected visuals silhouetted Keeler and Al-P and out-performed with an original and frantic pace. However, it all ended up being a hollow chocolate Easter bunny – you know the kind that looks delicious, but then when you take a bite: it crumbles. That was the performance.
In the end, I wish I had just watched the two-steppers some more.