Daedelus @ USC's Tommy's Place 8/18/10
Posted Aug 20, 2010, by The Bear.
The University of Southern California finished building a new campus center complex a short time ago and on this night it opened up its new performance space / bar with a free show by Electronica DJs Daedelus and Shlohmo to coincide with student move in day. The show was presented by USC’s Spectrum, and the student-run radio station, KXSC (which until recently was called KSCR but just changed its call letters; this show was its first event under its new name).
The venue has a capacity of just under 300 so it’s a pretty good sized space. It’s arranged like a capital “L” with the performance space taking up a large wide room at one end, and with the bar forming a longer, narrower portion around the bend to make up a second area connected to the main space. The performance area is called “Tommy’s Place,” while the bar is called “Traditions”; both are new versions of older spaces that were torn down with the old campus center. The physical arrangement is a sensible one since if a club goer is not into whoever is performing on stage in Tommy’s Place he / she can go hang out at Traditions (or “Traddies” as SC students call it). This is extra space for hanging out away from the stage is something a lot of clubs lack so the designers were wise to incorporate it. As for Tommy’s Place itself the venue has a stage and technical facilities as good as any professional club, and possibly better than some.
But enough about the space. The artists who performed the first show there are two Electronica DJs of varying styles and skill levels. The headliner was Daedelus, who is a USC alumnus from a good many years ago. Now I’ll say up front that I know very little about Electronica and have rarely been to an Electronica show. It’s not the kind of music I usually listen to or play. However, that being said, even I can recognize a master at work. There is no doubt that Daedelus is a master at what he does; his whole set was a real trip from beginning to end. Using a computer and a mixing board he laid down a basic music beat and then layered many different sounds over it, one after another and often intermingled with each other. The whole shebang (which also included a lot of dancing lights over the crowd, as well as a dancing crowd that was really into his stuff) was like getting hit with wave after wave of sounds, all very different from each other and yet somehow brought into harmony with the underlying beat. Daedelus himself seemed caught up in the mix that it came out in the wild and jerking way he moved on stage, dancing to his mix even while making the mix himself.
Daedelus’ set lasted for an hour and during that time I pretty much stayed in one place listening to the music. Although I’m usually not into this sort of thing I was fascinated by the mix and range of sounds used, and I stayed put where I was simply because I wanted to find out what sounds Daedelus would be using next, and then using after that, and after that, and so on. When he finished his set the crowd chanted for “one more song!” I don’t know what that means to someone who has just done an hour long set without stopping even once, but it meant something because he did do an encore, much to crowd’s satisfaction.
Shlohmo played the earlier set of the evening. His style was more laid back, and seemed more interested in creating an ambient mood for the duration even while mixing music loud enough to shake the floor if you were standing near the stage. I’m afraid I didn’t find Shlohmo’s set to be nearly as interesting as Daedelus’ would be later that night and got rather bored with it after a while. Of course that may just be because I couldn’t really appreciate what he was trying to do since I know so little about Electronica. On the other hand a lot of the crowd emptied out of Tommy’s Place while he was performing and went over to Traditions to buy drinks and food, so make of that what you will.