Boys Noize, Destructo, Franki Chan
It's a wonder any “surprise” club event can remain secret these days, but Boys Noize's record release gig last night at Complex kind of did. It all started with the producer's vague tweet sometime around noon, and then at 2 p.m., he made the announcement. There would be a free party to celebrate the release of his new EP, Go Hard.
A lucky 200 got in, and the assembled group felt like types who could discuss his discography at length — hardcore fans. With nearly 10 years of releases, Boys Noize has a lot of those.
The show was presented by iheartcomix, the team behind Check Yo Ponytail, and Hard. Both IHC's founder, Franki Chan, and Hard mastermind Gary Richards, under his DJ alias Destructo, took to the decks prior to Boys Noize's set. By the time Destructo hit the stage, there was no way the audience could stay still. The few seats on the edge of the dance floor were empty. People danced as best as they could in one tightly packed mass that edged close to the front of the stage.
Just before midnight, Alexander Ridha, Boys Noize himself, made his entrance through a gate on the side of the venue, cutting through the smoking patio to enter the club. Those outside took notice of this ordinary guy in the baseball cap surrounded by an entourage of young men who were almost anonymous in appearance. Were it not for the people who shouted “Boys Noize!” Ridha and his pals could have been confused for anyone else at this party. Once he popped up on stage, dancing behind Destructo as he prepared for his own set, there was no doubt that Ridha is a DJ/producer with real star power, even if Boys Noize isn't quite as recognizable a name as some others in the dance world.
Go Hard flirts heavily with the acid sound that was so popular in the 1990s. His club set similarly blurred the line between then and now. Those songs were mostly new, but the sounds — chopped up samples, bass-y synth that may or may not have come from an actual Roland TB-303 — will ring familiar to anyone who remembers the era of the rave.
He guided the crowd through a nearly two-hour trip that veered from blissful (“Starwin,” from Go Hard) to frantic (The Chemical Brothers remix of his tune “XTC”) with plenty of twists and turns in between. It was that Chemical Brother remix of “XTC” that drew one of the biggest responses from the crowd. They danced as though they could collapse at any moment, but kept going straight through to the final cut of the night, “Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang.”
After the music stopped and light filled the club, fans headed towards the stage, where Boys Noize stuck around to sign autographs and pose for photos. Outside the venue, I met two guys who were able to snag the DJ's signature, on a t-shirt and a pair of sneakers.
They were ecstatic and their energy was infectious. For the small group of fans who were able to get into this intimate Boys Noize gig, they probably won't forget it anytime soon.
Personal bias: I really like Go Hard and wanted a chance to dance to some of the tracks in a club. Nice!
The crowd: Boys Noize fans decked out in his t-shirts and happy face masks, some industry types, and a smattering of local DJs like Gaslamp Killer and Alvin Risk.
Random Notebook Dump: The sign of a good party is when you wipe the fog from your glasses. I did that — twice.