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Death in Vegas / Dub Pistols, the Troubadour, Los Angeles, 4/4/97

There were some opening folks, but I don't know their names. Thus, I will simply call them:

"Guys with long hair who stood around DJ'ing, but actually spent more time smoking and drinking beer." - I didn't really see the point of these guys. Sure, they laid down some groovy techno beats, but really they were much better at standing around in their long hair, smoking and drinking beer. Without the music, it would have been kind of an interesting postmodern performance art piece, but alas, it was not to be.

Death in Vegas - Pardon me while I start out with a little rant against the segmentation of the Electronica movement. A few years ago, everything was clear - electronic music with a beat was pretty much techno, and that was that. First let's pretend techno is a carrot, and then let me make something perfectly clear: THERE ARE NO RADICAL DEVELOPMENTS TO BE MADE IN THE AREA OF CARROTS. However, people have felt the need to come up with new categories of 'techno' to make it seem like they're doing new, innovative work. Now we've got trance, trip hop, hard hop, trypno, dub, jungle, drum and bass, artcore, breakbeat, house, acid-house, tribal, ambient, etc., etc., etc., when really the only difference is how fast someone cranks up the ol' Casio keyboard, causing people on the dance floor either to slowly flop about or to quiver so fast they just might hemorrhage and fall over. Actually, when used properly, some of those terms actually can mean something, but people generally use them incorrectly, so no one knows what the heck is going on.

Sorry about that. I feel better now.

Back to the matter at hand...Death in Vegas interestingly enough was not completely driven from a Casio keyboard. The group comprised of one keyboardist, one bassist, one guitarist, and two guys fiddling with knobs. Their style really ran the gamut from the slow flop to the fast quiver, at times presenting a down tempo piece with piano, organ, and light guitar, and at other times cutting a driving beat with all kinds of interesting electronic squeaks and squawks. I thought it was refreshing to see that people can make and perform techno-style music using real instruments.

Dub Pistols - I still don't really have a good understanding of what "Dub" really is, but maybe they're just claiming a name rather than a category. Unlike Death in Vegas, these three guys were 100% electronic, but they didn't appear to use any keyboard at all, instead all three seemed to be twiddling knobs. Hard to tell though, because they really got the crowd hopping with some fast, throbbing tunes which had more beats than a hummingbird's wings. OK, so it would have to be about a 600 pound hummingbird to make the racket they did, but it was a good racket, so in this case, I'll take the band instead of the hummingbird for the concert, and save the bird for the Discovery Channel.

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