Electronic outfit Javelin don’t sound like musicians, they sound like producers. I mean this in the best way possible. Their self-produced album “No Mas” is 43 minutes of pure non-stop gold that genre-hops all across the board from 80’s synth-pop to early 70’s soul, and onward toward 90’s Miami bass jams.
Despite being an homage to better periods of funk, their album puts a creative spin on these period references and elevate them through modern production touches.
The real question is how this would translate into a live setting. Electronic two-piece outfits have a lot to prove, and often have to depend on backing tracks doing a lot of the Gruntwork. I halfway expected the show to be mostly backing tracks with a little bit of synthesizer put on, but Javelin surprised me in several ways. The easiest to notice would be percussionist, and new father George Langford, who vigorously went to town on his drumKat that was midi’d into an MPC running 808 sounds. What most don’t realize is how hard it is to replicate drum programming in live drumming, and George was a beast at it.
Bandmate Tom van Buskirk also went to town, perhaps most impressively on kazoo, which was mic’d into a pocket piano, which is a homemade analog synth made by Javelin’s friends in Philly. Most amusingly were the vocals which were pitch-shifted via a Boss pedal from the 1980’s that as Tom exlains it, is designed for dub artists to drop and raise their pitch.
Despite the use of a few backing tracks here and there, the general feel of their set was that they were working hard to make extremely awesome feel-good jams. The crowd was receptive, though it was apparent most were there for Big Freeida and not Javelin. Regardless, Javelin had half the room bouncing throughout the set, and when they busted out their ultra-catchy Moscow 1980, the entire room was bumpin.
New Orleans-based Big Freeida might be the most hilarious and awesome show I’ve seen at DC9. I have much love for Liberation Dance Party, but I have NEVER seen people dance like this at DC9. Hell, people at Big Freedia shows dance crazier than at Girl Talk shows. For those unfamiliar with New Orleans bounce music, I can only describe it as sounding like an even dirtier dirty south rap, with a sort of renaissance of Miami Bass from ’96 in terms of dance moves. And when I say dance moves, I mean gratuitous booty shaking. I get it, as soon as the first beat dropped, the seasoned pros (or ‘big booty hos’, as they sometimes refer to themselves) hit the stage to show how it was done. I get that, and it was certainly a spectacle to see. This is of course only the start of it all, as people of all sizes, races, genders came up on stage and just straight up booty-popped.
There was of course the moment when Big Freedia sang her iconic “Azz Everywhere” in which the stage started to look like an overfilled bin of puppies at the pet shop, overjoyed with excitement. Sure, everyone was poppin, but there was so much going on, that it just kind of looked hilarious.
The moment that sealed the deal of course was the bodaciously buttacular booty battle of bemusement in which two teams consisting of a guy and girl randomly selected by Big Freedia had to duke it out. The team that utilized such popular dance moves as “chinese freeze tag” and “air sex” of course made out victorious.
I’d been up front all night shoting the show. I left a little early to catch the last train, and even in the BACK by the soundbooth and back bar, people were booty-poppin’ as if they were up front on stage.
I realize now I just reviewed the booty-poppin’ and not Big Freedia herself, so let me at least finish this review by saying that she brought it. At least in terms of booty-poppin. She took everyone to school, and owned the show.