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Junkie XL w/ Boom Bip – [Live]

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Thursday, 13 December 2007

To start the evening, we walked into the Viper Room in L.A. to find this crazy looking dude singing rock/pop/disco style music, which ended up being Mars locals Troy This. We said hello to the birthday girl, who happened to be friends with the girls that were throwing the show this evening. I couldn’t get over the lead singer’s completely overgrown bowl haircut. He looked like “Cool Ethan” from Slackers. The Viper Room is not a large venue. At the peak of the crowd, there were maybe just over one hundred people there. It was never so crowded that I didn’t have room, and it was never so loud that I couldn’t have a decent conversation with my fellow photographer.

Tonight, I had the liberty of enjoying some Stella beer. Helps wash out what I was doing during the day. Oh tonight, I’m here for the beer, Junkie XL and Boom Bip. I have to admit, walking in the room, I was more excited for Boom Bip then I was for Junkie XL.

When the curtains rolled back for Netherlands-Native Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg), they started with the birthday girl giving him an introduction. Normally when I go to a concert, it doesn’t have the same feel as this did, with a personal, almost high school band touch to it that the Viper Room only amplified.

JXL starts with a slow and quite beat. He stands almost still and so does the crowd, waiting patiently for what’s next. Then when the beat drops, he and crowd all explode in movement. The Viper Room’s intimate setting allows you to feel like you’re in your living room with your best friends. The ones who were cool enough to get Junkie XL to DJ for the evening. He is wearing a properly facing plaid ivy cap, and his poise and smile is not one I would expect from a person who has done everything from a sound track to a video game (Forza) to a theme song for a Nike commercial.

Junkie XL was using an Allen & Heath XONE-30 Mixer, two MacBooks and an older KORG modular synth. Not exactly the setting we have all grown up on—a vinyl-less stage that still controls the crowd with the same power. His music journeys from the Jungle to a euphoric high-in-the-sky feeling, followed by a borderline satanic drum ‘n’ base finish. The setting’s constant change of pace, rhythm and vibe made the time fly and ended way too soon; leaving you waiting once again for his album Booming Back at You, coming out March 2008. Hopefully I’ll see him live before then again, not that it wouldn’t stop me from me impatiently waiting for the album.

The last band on the stage was Boom Bip. I have to admit, I was quite pumped after a fantastic set from Junkie XL. When the curtain rolled back to reveal three guys and a grip of wire lights I thought it would be quite exciting. One guy was holding a keytar of all things, one rocking multiple keyboards and up front and center was Bryan Hollon rocking the digital drums. I felt this experience was quite unique, that they were playing minimal electro style music right in front of us. It felt as if we were in a recording session with them. The projector screen behind them displayed their name colorfully in many different styles as the crowd and the band rocked out to the beat. When midnight rolled around, it felt as if we were short changed, not having enough time in the day to enjoy great evenings like this, filled with fantastic bands and music.

Junkie XL’s Booming Back At You will be out March 2008 on Artwerk Music.

More on Junkie XL here: www.myspace.com/junkiexl

More on Boom Bip here: www.myspace.com/boombip

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