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Mutek: Peak Time, Picnic Time

June 3, 2008
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If you had a festival pass and a reasonable sense of humor, British duo Quiet Village‘s “show” on Saturday night was good comedy. For 20 minutes we waited in line to get into Metropolis’ smaller subvenue Savoy to see one of the Quiet Village’s first shows this side of the ocean. At a quarter past midnight, the room opened its doors, and we were surprised to hear as “filler”/pre-show music a track off QV’s just-born debut, Silent Movie, a wide, true-school Balearic grin of self-aware disco-funk cheese that is oh so awesome; you should run, not walk, and buy it now. Consider it the leopard-print babymaking–yes, even more so–companion piece to Hercules and Love Affair’s debut.

On the screen was a kind of psychedelic/pornographic collage film. The room filled quickly, and the minutes continued to pass. A friend remarked, “Isn’t it strange that they’re playing the album before the show?” It took partway through the next track and a few silent minutes of watching the movie projection to understand that we were, in fact, watching the show. We were getting our “silent movie.” You had to feel kind of bad for the couple waiting in line with $41 tickets for just this one show of the night, but, really, no matter what kind of a fan you are of electronic music, you gotta admit that most of the time a “live” set is one or two white men in front of laptops mousing and tapping the space bar. We’ll assume it was an intended comment. So we did what most anyone would do at a sleazy ’70s cocktail party–”I feel like we should be putting keys in a hat,” observed another friend–and mingled, while taking note of the porn collage turning into a slow-motion playback of The Cube, that Jennifer Lopez Hellraiser-lite drug trip.

The night changed right quick afterward with the Field getting, oddly, into updated if throwback arena electronica in the next room, performing as a three-piece band instead of awkward Axel Willner with a laptop. This lineup performed epic, vaguely New Age–you were waiting for wind effects to kick in–pieces instead of the pop-friendly minimal techno everybody fell in love with last year. Lasers started shooting from the ceiling like a rave-fashioned rainstorm, and I ducked out to find an ATM.

Instead, I found out that a large percentage of the ATM machines in downtown Montreal don’t take Visa cards and wandered around through a circus swarm of Canadian post-clubbing college-tards. It was to the extent where you had to walk down the middle of the street to get anywhere. And walking down the street to avoid Canadian college-tards is apparently OK, as a police officer politely asked us, in French, “Would you like to walk down the street?” Though I’ve misunderstood before, and he may have said, “Walk down the street and I’ll shoot.”

By the time we got back to the club–3 in the morning? 4?–it was full -on peak time, rave-up megatechno party, and the undrugged of us were quickly singled out and led out the door by our better sense and growling stomachs.

One last dance:

Every Sunday the city of Montreal hosts an afternoon rave on an island in the St. Lawrence River, Picnic Electronik (photo). You will not see white people with these kinds of dancing skills this side of the Atlantic, anywhere. This included at least three senior citizens with more moves than we deployed all week in the space of Turkish DJ Onur Ozer‘s all-vinyl boompity house set.

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