Concert Reviews

Live Review: Richie Hawtin at Beta

Richie Hawtin September 11, 2008 Beta Better than: anything else you can do with your body besides sex.

There are no words.

Reviewing a DJ performance is difficult, at best. There aren’t exactly “songs” to point out, and even if I could catalog every track played, it wouldn’t mean anything to anyone but the most hardcore – and even they still wouldn’t have more than the vaguest sense of how the night went. It’s all about the mood, pacing, following and feeding the crowd, plus the odd technical aspect: did they muck up the mixes, did they overuse effects, etc. Except in the rarest cases, dance music is not intellectual, not emotional, not meant for anything but one thing: dancing. It’s body music, plain and simple and it’s just damn hard to put the experience of the body into words.

That said, here goes nothing...

Compound everything I just said by making the DJ in question Richie Hawtin, one of the world’s absolute best at building pounding, insistent mixes that absolutely command you to dance, mixes that obliterate all thought and reason and subsume the ego into a pulsating, undifferentiated groupmind connected and driven by the omnipresent and omnipotent beat.

And that’s what he did last night. From almost the moment he came on until the moment I dragged my ass out the door, Hawtin’s mix commanded me to move. Even when I was talking to friends, I had to twitch, hop and bob my head. He’s that good. I’m probably wrong, but I can’t imagine anyone, even a dance music hater, going to a Hawtin performance and not being moved, not coming out of it loving techno and convinced not only of it’s musicality but of its primacy in the hierarchy of all music everywhere.

He’s that good.

From a critical standpoint, all I can say is that last night’s performance, which is the fourth time I’ve had the privilege of hearing him spin, was merely the second best I’ve seen. Which is to say, it was pretty damn special. Reading this can’t really convey it.

There are just no words.

-- Cory Casciato

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I long ago became an avid convert of Hawtin’s brand of techno perfection Random Detail: As I was waiting for a friend at the VIP entrance, I saw a woman in a shirt that left nothing but nipples to the imagination – and barely that. By the Way: Hawtin is a must-see for any dance music fan. Don’t miss is next time if you did this time.

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera