20 Watts

Concert Coverage: HARD NYC by tjwell01

20 Watts peaked inside the Major Lazer show in NYC last weekend.

HARD NYC was more than a concert. It was more than a rave. It was pure madness. The six-hour long show, comprised of performances from Destructo, Proxy, Buraka Som Sistema, Major Lazer, and Boys Noize, went at a voracious, non-stop force that engrossed the audience of 500-something people for its entire run.

Destructo (Gary Richards), creator of the HARD series, is known for inserting his performance into the DJ lineups. Hailing from Los Angeles, he generally aims to do nothing less than worm up a fervent crowd. He proudly emerged on the stage with an expectedly disappointing performance. His mildly synthesized beats seemed to appeal mainly to the eager crowd of New York City high school girls that surrounded me. Hey, they looked happy to get out of their house on a Saturday night by 8 o’clock. His music eventually grew to become much more tolerable and enjoyable. Richards pumped out his focused and consistently loud smashes, all while a Lego-inspired vehicle of a light show blasted on the massive screen behind him.

The Russian enigma, Proxy, performing live in the United States for the first time that night, jumped onstage quickly after Destructo’s finale. He was by far the best powerhouse to come from Russia since Ivan Drago’s fist in Rocky IV. He mixed his own original songs with contemporary bangers, like “Sweet Shop” by dub step legend Dr. P. As the concert was heating up, so were we. Terminal 5’s tight venue certainly did not keep our wallets tight. I myself must have dropped at least twelve dollars on water. Frequent trips to the patio area for some fresh air at first left us frustrated with our constant movements, but we grew to enjoy the intermittent blasts of oxygen that let loose our head-throbbing constraints.

Buraka Som Sistema is an electronic music project straight out of Minoa, Portugal, but is more stylistically associated with Angolan kuduro rhythms. Comprised of three main members Lil’ John (from neither the windows nor to the walls), DJ Riot, and Conductor, the group managed to combine the energy of modern electronic music with the simplicity and pop of kuduro rhythms. It’s difficult to explain this set with mere semantics. Buraka killed it in a way that few other artists have had the audacity to do in a live set.

Combine Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade,” Emalkay’s “When I Look At You,” and Major Lazer’s own “Pon de Floor” into five minutes and you can begin to comprehend a fraction of the electricity that the Major Lazer crew brought to the stage. DJs Switch and Diplo, the masterminds of the project, and Skerrit Bwoy, a “Kill Bill” suit-wearing, rum drinking, crowd pleaser, captivated the audience not only with their beats, but with an unbelievable light show that created a visual matrix of thick green beams and, well, lasers. With a performance that culminated with dancing girls in sexually suggestive military garb, Chinese New Year dragon heads, and Vegas showgirl feather outfits, Major Lazer’s rowdiness was a pure delight.

German DJ Alexander Ridha, better known to music fans as Boys Noize, headlined the night with a dynamic splendor, a mix of visuals that were undoubtedly inspired by Dr. Seuss and tempestuous rhythms that lit fuses of energy in the crowd. Mainly playing songs from Power, his second studio album, Ridha’s monstrously controlling music blended perfectly with an ever-flowing red, white, and black color scheme on LED screen. The moment “Starter” erupted from the loudspeakers was one of massive acclaim; in layman’s terms, the crowd went nuts. Bowing out of the show with his popular remix of Feist’s “My Moon My Man,” everyone (myself included) was chanting at their voices’ capacities for an encore.

The adventure to HARD NYC at Terminal 5 was quite a trek, but as soon as we entered the venue, we immediately knew that our journey had only just begun. Thus commences my 2010 tour of raves. Electric Daisy Carnival is about to meet its newest fan.

– Hunter Lurie, John Ray, Colin Cavanaugh

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