Sticking with my early arrival strategy to get an optimum view of the stage and a vantage point to people watch I arrived at Nocturne 4, Mutek's 'big' night, at 10:30. One noticeable difference was the patting down and emptying of pockets that everyone entering had to go through at the door. That had not happened the night before at Metropolis and made me wonder if something had gone on. Oh well…
There were roughly 100 people in the venue when I got there and so I was able to get some close up pictures and get one of the up top perches to look over the dance floor. Going to a Mutek evening is an eye opening experience as you would expect a 'certain' type of crowd, but what you actually get is a wide range of ages and styles within the crowd. One thing that is pervasive is that there is a remarkable lack of pretension in that everyone is just there to hear good music and dance. Most are dressed for comfort rather than to make an impression with jeans, t-shirts and sneakers ruling. Hey, if you are going to be dancing until dawn you can't be wearing stilettos! It is a festival where everyone can feel like they fit in or belong. No one should feel intimidated about attending Mutek.
Nocturne 4 was set up as an all-night soirée of dancing as the music was going until 6 a.m. There were two rooms of music/DJs for attendees to check out. In the main room the theme musically was techno/house and in the smaller more intimate Savoy room you got the opportunity to check out four rising American stars (Miskate, Ambivalent, Lee Curtiss, and Someone Else) alongside Mutek returnee and native Montrealer, Pheek. Visuals in the main room were provided by Gabriel Coutu Dumont, Nomig, Mathieu St-Arnaud, Olivier Goulet, and Jimmy Lakatos. The visuals were less of the concrete variety like the previous evening and mostly were wavy lines and other random shapes.
Upon my arrival Pantha du Prince (Hendrik Weber), a German DJ, was onstage. A young waifish looking gentleman dressed in head to toe black with one of those asymmetrical hair styles he looked like someone straight out of the British New Wave music invasion of the 1980s. Meaning he could have easily been mistaken for a member of The Cure or Depeche Mode. Interestingly enough he recently has done a remix of a Depeche Mode single. Brought to us from Hamburg, Germany, this DJ has just released his second album to critical acclaim. The music he served up to us was an intriguingly moody, minimalist brand of techno. It almost could be labeled Goth techno. There are also definitely some psychedelic elements to his hypnotic repetitive rhythms.
Continuing the German ruled evening, next up was DJ Jichael Mackson. No, this is not a typo that is his actual stage name. Hilarious! His real name is Boris Steffan and he provided us with a 60-minute set full of upbeat house music. During his North American debut (we are lucky, folks!), he really got the crowd moving and demonstrated that DJing is definitely a passion for him. As opposed to most other DJs, Jichael Mackson is hard to photograph as he is in continuous motion. His own music makes him dance…a good sign! He has real freestyle technique as he is mixing many different sounds/beats into one layered result.
It was a great evening of dancing and music to end off this terrific festival!