East Vs. West, Part II
THE GAME at Vault 350, March 4 No one knew what to expect from this Long Beach show, since a member of the Games camp was shot by 50 Cents security outside a New York radio station last week. But that didnt deter the huge crowd, including a bunch of Bloods. After midnight, the Game walked on with a pair of black high-top Chuck Taylors hanging around his neck and ripped into the killer Westside Story. He changed a line to Aint fuckin with G-Unit, and it was on and poppin: I represent the Bs, the Cs and the Eses, I represent the West. Fuck G-Unit! I got lost in New York, had a little bit of drama, he observed, then spewed out, I took five [gunshots], fuck them niggas. He then introduced My homeboy DJ Quik from the Hub City yes, he had the Compton rapper/producer at the turntables. They switched positions; DJ Quik got on the mic for his pop-your-cherry song Tonite, and the crowd went wild, singing Tonite is the nite! The Game rolled out on a low-rider bike as the Kanye Westproduced bass line of Dreams kicked in; this time he changed a line to Fuck Curtis Jackson (50 Cents birth name). Im tired of bullshittin, the Game spat and proceeded to strip down, taking off his hooded sweatshirt and revealing a bulletproof vest; he then removed that to reveal a gang of tats, including N.W.A on his right chest. Tony Yayo can suck my dick! Lloyd Banks can suck my dick! 50 Cent can suck my dick! G-Unit can suck my dick! he proclaimed as the bass bumped on How We Do, and the dancers rode low-rider bikes behind. Theres about 100 cops outside, he told the crowd and attacked his last song, Start From Scratch, only to get emotional and cover his face: Rest in peace, Billboard. Before leaving, he had the crowd chanting, Fuck 50 Cent! As we exited onto Pine Avenue, the Long Beach PD stood in full riot gear, with a ghetto bird above flashing its searchlight. So you thought the Biggie SmallsTupac beef was big? MICHAEL MAYER at Avalon, March 3 Exactly who benefited from Michael Mayer deejaying Avalons enormo-room Thursday night? It couldnt have been the promoters the scant turnout assured their shirts got misplaced. It couldnt have been the bartenders, pouring themselves generous portions to escape boredom. And it certainly wasnt the L.A. techno faithful, who came out to support Mayer, co-founder of Colognes massively influential Kompakt Records, but were left trying to imagine a party vibe in a soulless cave. No blame on them or on Mayer. He spent three hours massaging the rooms bowel-gyrating sound system (sole positive attribute) with a booming set that was by turns brash, trancentric and maxi-minimalist, the kind of brainy yet populist mix thats made him among the most respected big-room techno jocks this side of Richie Hawtin. Mayer and the current Kompakt roster favor a big, bold (dare I say it) rave sound, equally reliant on mass strategies (major-chord changes familiar to symphony buffs, classic rockers and pop-ambient fans alike) and on underground innovation (rolling waves of crackling micro-rhythms, hopped-up avant-garde sound programs). His set surfed through a tireless procession of Who-like riffs, postT. Rex shuffles (reconceived by Berlin and Cologne as the schaffel riddim), titanic pop-trance epics (Superpitchers drop-dead-gorgeous remix of MFAs The Difference It Makes) and assorted Teutonic bangers, with enough energy to wake the dead. But somewhere between the five-foot-high stage and the few dozen faithful on the floor, the energy dissipated. This would have been less likely if Mayer played the Avalons more intimate Spider Club room, which has the sweatbox atmosphere beat gourmets crave (the kind thats been getting more common around L.A. of late). The way it went down, though, Mayers set did no one any favors. Piotr Orlov KEREN ANN, A GIRL CALLED EDDY at the Hotel Café, February 24, and Tangier, February 25 This is why I always whisper, Frances Keren Ann Zeidel confided during the time-suspended idyll Not Going Anywhere in a barely-there voice over her effectively sparse flecks of guitar, lingering on each word so that each breathy syllable and faintly hopeful upward lilt floated cloudlike above the Hotel Cafés bar. One fan was so enraptured, leaning forward and literally hanging on to her every inflection, that he almost keeled over at the soft burr of her first harmonica note. Belying the somber moods of By the Cathedral and the bewitching Chelsea Hotel evocation Chelsea Burns, Keren Ann grinned conspiratorially throughout, accompanied only by keyboardist Jason Hart, whose xylophone chimed like a slowly unwinding music box. At Tangier, she strummed more of her early French chansons and joked, You dont have to understand French to understand this song, because its . . . one of those songs. Englands A Girl Called Eddy (formerly New Jerseys Erin Moran) also lets her late-night-conversation lyrics do most of her talking, although at Tangier she confessed, This is a song about some guy. Its amazing what two co-dependent people can create together, before launching into the cathartically romantic Somebody Hurt You, kneading her keyboard with comfort-food warmth. She contrasted downbeat pop ballads such as Tears All Over Town and the inspirational People Used To Dream About the Future with the jaunty shuffle Life Thru the Same Lens, imbuing everything with that low, languid voice. On last years debut album, A Girl Called Eddy generally sang with more volume than Keren Ann, but, given the intimate venues and without her full band, she stripped down the arrangement of The Long Goodbye until all that was left was its heartbroken, unforgettable melody. Falling James
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