When I entered the Edmonton Event Center last Friday night, DreamFace was on. I stepped into an event which reminded me of disco-pop: electro-parts, soft voices, never changing beats, similar sounding songs, hardly any musical experiments. The vibe of this kind of music mostly comes from the beats and the sound of the singing voice. The band’s job is to wake up your rusty legs. They need to make you dance. If they can’t do it, if they can’t get through to you, the performance will be boring. It is not exactly my kind of music, but I have faith. Who knows, maybe something will happen, maybe my entire sense of music is going to change in a few seconds.
I was standing in the middle of the room, listening to DreamFace. I am still trying to figure out whether I like them. Do I feel like dancing? The sound in Edmonton Event Center was bad and really hurt my ears. I don’t think you can blame the band, but rather, the technique. I had trouble hearing Jasmine Ming-Wai Ma’s voice when she was singing. It got lost in the big hall somewhere, was hiding under tables and chairs, in people’s winter coats, under their toques. It was doing everything, but was not present in the room. To hear DreamFace’s full sound could have made a difference. Maybe my skepticism would have gone away. But no: Their music really didn’t catch me. And: I wasn’t the only one who looked a bit skeptic during their performance. Hardly anyone was moving. I saw people rolling their eyes, bored facial expressions and unimpressed hand claps.
‘If I can have a good time, you can have a good time.’ When Mass Choir took over the stage the atmosphere changed. It felt like an empty battery got charged. Still electro-pop, still no music I would listen to everyday, but definitely something that made me happy for the moment. I got the same exciting feeling as if I would listen to Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’. That made me smile. I danced; I had ‘Good Times’, I was sad when they stopped playing. And again: I wasn’t alone.
USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) was another turning point. I felt excitement in the air. I heard people longing and screaming for them. I saw the audience storming closer to the stage. I got infected and felt excited. I was waiting for them to finally come out and play. But then: A rather hip dressed guy with a mohawk and sunglasses entered the stage. It was Ash Boo-Schultz, vocalist, guitarist and erhu player of USS. I couldn’t help thinking: he seems way too pleased with himself. When Jason ‘Human Kebab’ Parsons, turntablist and hype man, suddenly went head first, doing some stage artistry, I only could shake my head. This was too much for me, these guys are posers. It seemed they were playing one long and never ending song, but not in a unique cohesive way where the songs are related to each other, where the songs are actually telling a story. I was looking forward to some dancing, but I was disappointed once more. Their music didn’t leave room for much movement. The only possible move: right foot up and down. I got bored and I wanted the show to end sooner rather than later. I seemed to be the only one feeling that. Everybody else stayed excited, enjoyed the venue, wanted USS to play more more more… But I had to leave for a cigarette. I needed something to lighten up my night.