Monday, November 30, 2009

Laurent Garnier with live band & Stereosonic among other things

Weekend is at close here in Sydney with the relatively new festival, Stereosonic, kicking off its nation wide tour.

While many opinions of the festival have already been thrown around(mostly through facebook comments it seems) it was an interesting mix of fairly 'big-sounding/big-name' DJs, think Deadmau5, Fedde Le Grand, as well as big electro DJs, Crookes, with a dash of techno heavy weights thrown in for good measure.

Sneakerpeeps stage, what perhaps was 'techno-central', headlined Umek, alter-ego, Marco Carola and Laurent Garnier's live band gracing the stage along side respected Sydney locals Ben Korbel, Simon Caldwell (check the recent RA podcast) and young guns Mattt and Tomas. While the stage worked well for most of the day with stand-out set from Mr Korbel, near to the end, when Marco Carola and Laurent Gariner started to play, the pull of the more advertised headliners definitely took away quite a few punters from the stage which, was a pity for two acts like these. However in my opinion this was always going happen in a festival that seemed to try and dip its fingers into too many pots at once, and in doing so 'scaring' away perhaps some of the core fans of the two latter artists.

That said, there were still a large amount of fans that came and witnessed the awesomeness that is Laurent Garnier and his live band.

Honestly it is easily one of the most impressive live acts I have ever seen. Effortlessly switching between pulsating industrial techno, to dubstep, jazz-styled drum and bass as well as blues, it was more a true jazz improvisation session mixed in with the stylings and sounds of Laurent Garnier.

His band set-up consists of a Saxophone player, apparently one of the best in the world, Trumpet player, synth keyboardist and a main keyboard and guitar player of which Garnier can be seen as the 'conductor' often coming in and out from behind his mixing desk to direct each member. For example at one pinnacle point in the performance his keyboardist was told to drop some blues after a rather heavy techno song from before. Taking on a blues riff and improvising Laurent comes in after a little bit and tells him to repeat once specific chord, then going over to the saxophone player he brings him in with a similar style directing what he wants with some vocal cues and hand gestures, along with the trumpet and secondary keyboard player. As I said before Garnier is quite like the conductor guiding each member in a way he sees fit. After letting the improvised melody sit for a little while with all members Garnier, out of no where, drops this Jazz-infused drum and bass styled bass and beats to which the watching crowd erupts into a frenzy of hands-in-the-air and dancing action.

I think perhaps the most astounding element is seeing how well true instrumental improvisation goes with live 'techno' or electronic styles and the raw energy that flows from it. And for that matter how well true instruments, or real instruments go with techno. An element that is still seriously lacking. One only has to look at his famous Man with the Red Face in which the lead sax takes the song and perfectly complements the pulsating techno drums, synths and bass.

When Man with the Red Face was finally dropped closer to the end of their performance you could really feel the energy that each band member seems to contribute to the overall product, which for techno and dance music often being a one man affair, is a rare thing. Laurent Garnier and his live band are truly an innovative and original performance that is executed exceptionally well. It has, without a doubt, progressed the definitions of live electronic music performance and set the bar to a completely new level. If you are lucky enough to have the chance to witness it you would be nuts not too!

I'm putting the call out there, Laurent Garnier and his live band should perform in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House, a world renowned artists for an equally world renowned venue. Please add a comment if you think so too!

Update: I'm trying to secure an interview with the man himself so stay tuned for upcoming article. If you have something you would like to ask him please also forward it to the email.

Laurent Garnier with live band at Matter in London, exact same set up and band members as in Sydney

No comments:

Post a Comment