Savoy at the Ogden Theatre, 11/13/10
With Trajikk • Kostas • Alex B.
11.13.10 | Ogden Theatre
Savoy electrified the Ogden with their crazy dirty, electro beats and a lightshow that made for one of the best productions I've seen in ages. The night started off with sets from Trajikk and Kostas of Triad Dragons. I missed Trajikk's set, but Kostas's set started out upbeat featuring a remix of MGMT's "Kids," which got the crowd going. However, the remix of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" fell flat with the tease (rather than overt) guitar riff heard round the world. Next, the Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition" made an appearance followed by an oldie -- Darude's "Sandstorm."
All of these songs were effective in making the crowd dance, but the flow was off with only so-so transitions between mixes. While the standard remixing had me a little bored, it was a good warm up set for Alex B. Warm-up sets are meant to get the crowd engaged and moving via recognizable tunes, easy to follow beats, all while still being low-key enough for the next DJ to take it higher - which Kostas did well.
The next DJ on the list was Alex B, who spun a set that was broken up into genres throughout. The first part consisted of heavy dub-grooves infused with a lot of bass. Just as I was getting into the groove, he shifted to hip-hop electronica. From a high energy lead-in, it brought down the tempo too much and altered the mood of the crowd poorly.
This led into drum n' bass, which was a better fit for the night, and then transitioned into dark, dirty, electro bass - throwing in Savoy's "Back to Basics" and the first appearance of Daft Punk's "Derezzzed" that I've seen live. It was a good set up for Savoy to take over from.
Savoy's sound focuses on electro mashed with hard near techno beat lines. The onetime Boulder-based act has two albums out - 2009's Automatic and 2010's Nothin for Nothin EP, both of which are heavy in electro and remixes of popular songs, such as Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" and No Doubt's "Hella Good," as well as its own productions, "Real People" and "Orgo."
The remixing in the songs is hard to call remixing - the tracks aren't just a song with a techno beat thrown in. The vocals are distorted, the audio clips brief, and the sound far from a copy of the original. Savoy create its own tracks that just happen to have some known vocals and beats included within.
After a short break, Savoy took over the decks around midnight. The set began with the classic "Pump up the Jam" by Technotronic mixed into electro lover's heaven beats. Right as the guys went into "Real People," the lightshow began. Holy fucking laser beams! Not one, not two, but three lasers entranced the crowd with movers and blinding strobes filling in the gaps.
Most shows can feel overdone adding so many lights like this, but not this one. The high end production of the lights fit Savoy perfectly - the act's electro sound is made for that much electricity flying through the air. With the precision timing to the beats, the crowd ate it up -- taking every vantage point in the theater to better watch this unique blend of music and visuals.
Savoy's set luxuriated in its nasty darkness that included more expert remixes, such as "Thriller" and Benny Benassi's "Satisfaction." The group closed the night with the crowd-pleaser "Nothin' for Nothin'" and an explosion of lights. Cries of "Encore!" led to another small set of "Get Some Action" (Beastie Boys "Body Movin" sample) and "Hella Good"
Overall, the show started off a little rough but the two-hour dance party during Savoy's set made it incredible. Rarely do remix artists make for a good show, but Savoy's unique way of creating new from old is top notch.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I am not a huge drum and bass or hip-hop fan - I like me some dubstep, but it was hard for me to get into Alex B's set despite the creativity of some of his productions. I am a DDTT (Dirty Dark Tribal Techno) lover, so the electro sound of Savoy is what drew me to this show. Random Detail: Throwing glow-crap at the stage is so 1991. It's odd to see it carried on as a tradition given most of the folks in the crowd were barely out of diapers around then. By the Way: None of the lighting was pre-programmed to fit the music - all of it was done live by the lighting crew as the set evolved.
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