Noah Pred Thursday, December 31, 2009 B. Side Lounge, Boulder Better Than: The end of the last decade
New Year's Eve is always a little special, whether you want it to be or not. And 2009 was destined -- doomed, one might say -- to be a lot special, ending not just the first decade of the new millenium, but a decade that was more bad than good, a decade that everyone seems eager to put behind us that was capped by a year that, while it had its ups, was also a year of recession and unemployment for too many, celebrity death by the busload and just a general funk that didn't seem inclined to lift any other way besides rolling the calendar over and hitting the reset button, hard.
And New Year's Eve at the B. Side Lounge had that sort of feeling. The crowd had a sort of intense agitation, an eagerness to get to the countdown, to say goodbye and to have a good goddamn time doing it. Being a dance music crowd in Boulder, for one of the smaller, more underground venues and promoters, it was not a typical club crowd -- not all club kid cool and pretty people, but a weird mixture of techno heads, hippies of all ages, the usual assortment of amateur night electronic-curious that roll out for dance events on NYE and filled out with just plain weirdos. And that buzz was everywhere -- every overheard conversation was about how we hope next year, and next decade, would be better, different, more.
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And as these things go, the headliner Noah Pred made his entrance after the countdown, a countdown that was raucous and intense, shouted from every throat with a near-manic intensity. The only appropriate response to such a furious buzz was a hard charging, stripped down mix, focused like a laser on channeling that intensity into sweaty dancefloor abandon. This is what Pred delivered, ramping quickly into a hard yet deep minimal pulse, like a tweaker's heartbeat adorned only by the crackle of his nervous system misfiring in arcs of neuronal noise.
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Having listened to a bit of Pred at home, I might have expected a more layered, busier and nuanced set but it was perfect for the moment. Or perhaps he played layered, nuanced and busy but I mentally stripped it down to the hard center, the emphatic unyielding beat and alien-tone basslines that I needed to hear and feel at that moment, discarding the rest like so much window dressing.
The heart and soul of electronic music can be boiled down to that connection between the beat the DJ (or live producer in this case) creates and its connection to the simple reptile brains of the audience, the part that reacts but never thinks, that is ignorant of rationality yet inextricably linked to it. And Pred moved that part of my brain, and the brains of my fellow travelers and it was what we needed. I didn't think much, I just rejoiced -- that 2009 was over, that 2010 was here, sure -- but mostly just let my biorhythms sync to his synthetic rhythms, let my mind go and just lived in the moment. Thanks for that.
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I've been enjoying a lot of Pred since I discovered him a few weeks ago. Random Detail: Right before midnight, I saw an over aggressive guy get shot down by a passing girl as he angled for a midnight kiss. I guess cheesy pickup lines don't work any better this decade than last. By the Way: Not quite what I expected. Totally what I needed.