Basement Jaxx with Ugly Duckling - 10/09/01 @ the Metro

Where’s your head at?!” was blaring through the speakers Tuesday night at the Metro…yet my head wasn’t at the Basement Jaxx show…it was where it will be later, what will I eat after the show? What will I do tomorrow? How late will I sleep in?

Basement Jaxx's previous Chicago show at Red No. Five was labeled by many as “the best ‘electronic’ show they’ve ever seen”…. so that got my hopes up…expecting something that would blow my mind. The only “electronic” show that blew me was Moby. Yet what I saw Tuesday night was a down hill climb to boredom.

Overall it seems “electronic” shows can go in many ways…mainly 3…one way is doing the typical DJ show, such as Fatboy Slim for example, who has 2 turntables (minus a microphone) and constantly is playing around with records, including some of his own. Another way, is a Chemical Brothers way…playing with sounds and computers…sampling their hits with others not their own. Then there is the Basement Jaxx way…2 guys, 2 turntables, a few buttons…one of which is “play”…they spin a tune, hit play on the CD player which will either be their 2 releases…1999’s debut Remedy or this years Rooty…then they had 4 no names jump on stage waving their hands and singing over the vocals of their hits…ranging from “Romeo” to “Get Me Off” to “Just One Kiss.” The only song that seemed to be “performed” live was their first single to Remedy, “Rendez-Vu” which one of the DJ’s came out to play a guitar, while again a women moved back and forth on stage for no apparent reason. The song would have been better if they did press play on the CD…it lost it’s best moments and after that moment the show kept going down hill.

The show did have some original moments, some true “DJ moments”…where the 2 would break away from the hits and sample some other tracks ranging form Missy Elliot (“get your freak on”) to Eminem (“my name is”) and mixed them to some house beats. That was the only time I got my freak on…

The opener, Ugly Duckling, may have set a tone for me and a few others, a tone that made you wish you got there at 11 when the Jaxx finally appeared on stage. Their Hip- Hop styles didn’t fit in well with this 98% all white audience, which was a mix of A&Fers to rave kids.

After an hour the show came to a close, with no big finish...even the encore didn’t make me want more. Too many people on stage. Those people…. 4 African American ladies seemed to show a theme to the show…a tribal theme…yet the constant costume changes which seemed to have come from Kmart…only hurt the show. Also a percussion man was on stage hitting the bells and whistles…and at times was WAY off the beat to the original songs that even one of the member pointed to him to tell him to hit only one drum, not too, to try and keep up with the song.

Maybe I’m spoiled with other “electronic” shows…or at least used to DJ’s doing their thing behind the equipment, barely seeable while the lights and sounds do all the work. The idea may have been good to some including the Jaxx, it truly wasn’t like any other dance show I’ve seen (nor care to see again)…but to a fan of the underground raves and electronic shows…this may be Jaxx’s step into the commercial world…and possibly a more successful one. Only way to keep me a fan is by not doing anymore shows and just keep putting out some great albums.

--Todd, Chicago -

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