MSTRKRFT House of Blues October 25, 2008

Better than: The Girl Talk show.

It’s Friday night and the Dallas air has bite. I check my oversized digital watch for the time. The face glows green and reads 11:24 p.m.--they’re finally about to open the doors at the House of Blues. Security directs everyone to stand as close to one another as possible in order to fill in the gaps, so, shoulder to shoulder we stand and a grueling sense of anticipation creeps amongst the crowd.

Someone shouts “Fist of God!” and then, like clockwork, the doors do open.

They are letting us in. Let the rave begin.

Wait. What?

An underground dance party at the House of Blues? Yeah, right. That assertion is ridiculous and, quite frankly, laughable. There is absolutely nothing underground about the venue.

But if you've heard of Canadian electro duo, MSTRKRFT you're probably aware of the wave of electronic music that has washed over the nation within the past few years. The current underground music scene wreaks of heavy dance beats, house music and mashups comprised of anything from top 40 hits to the entire content of your Uncle Frank’s vinyl collection circa 1982. In a world where macbooks and mixers dominate electric guitars, and dance floors have become the new moshpits, MSTRKRFT reigns supreme. And MSTRKRFT brought along Vancouver-based DJ Felix Cartal and Golden State boys L.A. Riots for the ride.

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The first act on the Fist of God tour, Felix Cartal, was already set up and playing as the outside crowd transformed into the audience. The crowd seemed intrigued, but not entirely convinced; only a handful of people were brave enough to move their bodies. At this point, the bars were packed and it seemed that alcohol had taken precedence over what was going on onstage. Following Cartal was a set by L.A. riots. But the crowd remained static--with the exception of a few drunken frat boys sporting glow sticks and pumping their fists to the beat.

Then came MSTRKRFT.

Visually, the setup was loud. The entire stage was lit with neon lights, and cluster of monitors projecting haphazard images framed the duo while they played. And their DJ set was thunderous: They played an assortment of tunes, even throwing in some of their original material such as "Easy Love," all while engulfed in a cloud of cigarette smoke as they downed a bottle of Crown Royal. By 2 a.m., the venue floor was packed, and by 2:30, everyone was on their feet, moving to the music.

Even security seemed to be enjoying themselves. I caught two of them shakin’ their hips to MSTRKRFT’s rendition of Usher's "Love In This Club."

Then 3 a.m. rolled around and the boys closed their set.

Sure, it took a while for the crowd to warm up, but judging by the glistening foreheads and sweat-drenched bodies, a good time was had by nearly everyone there.

Random Note: Dallas Observer street team, you are swell. Thanks again for the DFA (R.I.P) Button!

Personal Bias: Up until only a few months ago, I was living in Vancouver and going out to similar DJ sets on a regular basis. So, in other words, MSTRKRFT feels like home. --Catherine Downes

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