What started as a chill scene of tripped out kandi kids at the Majestic, soon cascaded into an all-night rave. Tech head bros flashed their fingertip light gloves at pace with the energy of a room already packed with seasoned raver vets and EDM superfans.
Manic Focus and its electro-funk openers entranced the audience at their sold out show Saturday night with banging bass and magical flows. Together the acts inflated the idea of electronic dance music and had the crowd grooving like no other.
The theatre was just starting to fill up as local group, Red Rose, kicked off the night with live loops and silky keyboards, jacked up by bassist K-Dubs and his funky guitar riffs. The smooth bass and use of live instruments sets this Madison-based, trip-hop group apart in a sea of otherwise straight-up DJs. Their velvety blend of house music and reggae makes for a sleek, trip-hoppy sound; which explains why the ensemble’s founder and producer goes by the name Captain Smooth.
There’s no denying the Captain’s placid demeanor as he contributed hella crunk noise that the crowd no doubt appreciated. Each song seamlessly blended into the next with little to no standstill in the stream of tunes. The crowd swayed to the solid improv and tranquil grooves for close to an hour, at which point they were ready for the heavier dance tunes that were to follow.
The famed Cory Wythe of Marvel Years then took the stage and instantly riled the scene with his characteristic hybrid of glitch retro-funk. Having toured and produced with big names like Pretty Lights and Griz, Marvel Years has been earning attention in the world of electronic music – and rightfully so.
As he shredded out electro hip-hop beats, shit got rowdy. With each drop of up-tempo rhythm, the vigor of the crowd intensified. Rainbow-dressed free spirits, bros in bandanas and snapbacks shrouded the stage to tear up the dance floor. Besides the downcast security guard cursing all the hippies, the whole audience was killing it with Marvel Years’s trance energy.
The crowd was loving life and putting the PLUR mantra of rave EDM culture into practice, spreading peace, love, unity and respect to all – except for the the high school kids in the crowd who probably should have stayed home.
Following the soulful performances of the first two electro groups, the main act Manic Focus came out with veritably funky flows. Minnesota native John “JmaC” McCarten is known for his bass-centered tunes and deliberately crafted vocal samples, which served to entrance the crowd even further past the high they were coasting on from Marvel’s ratchet racket.
The deep house music flowed through the Majestic and traveled to the upstairs balcony, which was pulsing with the same energy that was keeping the main dance floor pumping. While the upper lounge setup is typically for the more reserved onlookers just there to hear some good tunes, this portion of the theater was beyond rowdy for Manic. It’s a miracle all the molly-induced raver chicks weren’t projected over the balcony as they rolled face and thrashed with passionate arm waves all over that railing.
Everyone was loving the unique conception of electronic dance music that Red Rose, Marvel Years and Manic Focus delivered. The sexy sounds of the night made for a tranced out scene of true PLUR.