By: Emily Freeman
San Francisco’s virtually hidden Mezzanine served as a whistle-stop for A-Trak’s Magic 8-Ball caravan in mid-May. The Gaslamp Killer’s opening act could have been easily mistaken for a headline. His unrelenting oversized beats and rock star stage show drew ravers in the intimate venue away from the bar and to the dance floor. The Low End Theory resident’s energy was infectious. The venue was nowhere near full that early in the night, but when this San Diego native pulled out Led Zepplin’s “Black Dog,” the audience exploded with a response triple its size. Kid Sister perpetuated this spirit with a star-quality performance. From her metallic, studded wrist cuffs to her likewise luminescent smile, she delivered her hard-hitting “Pro-Nails” single with an alluring femininity. These two effectively set the table for A-Trak’s ingenious set, which outfitted rock n’roll with electro-pop accessories and transformed commanding hip-hop beats into dance-provoking melodies.
Over the past eleven years, Alain Macklovitch, better known as A-Trak, has cultivated his career from teenaged turntable experimentation to international commercial success. A-Trak’s sound, however, lies far from the mainstream. He has the ability to synthesize a diverse range of sounds to transform a Top 40 hit into avant-garde exploration. His time with the Ivisibl Skratch Piklz crew, The Allies, and Kanye West granted him fundamental training, stage time, and ultimately, the exposure he so deserved.
His set flowed unblemished. The familiar beat of club tracks such as X-Fusion’s “I’ve Got Nothing to Lose” opened the night with an uproar. Whoever was not on their feet in the now packed club, leaped out of their seats and onto the dance floor. Flawless instrumental transitions, such as “Shake Down,” and other brief loops whipped the audience into an electronic frenzy. The only indication that bridged the gaps between tracks was the audience’s collective explosion with each recognizable hit. The walls rattled in time to A-Trak’s renditions of Lil’ Wayne’s “Six Foot Seven,” Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow,” Ludacris’ “Move Bitch”, Kanye West’s “All of the Lights,” and of course, A-Trak’s recent single “Ray Ban Vision” featuring CyHi Da Prince. The dance floor became fantastically hazardous as the stream of hip-hop relentlessly continued. The dynamism continued as he swiftly moved back into a catchy, club-banging finale of “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand,” and finally, Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” That is, except for Kid Sister’s distracting fight for the spotlight. The end of A-Trak’s set was somewhat tarnished as her swagger turned into stagger. Vodka bottle in hand, she joined A-Trak on stage. Her uncompromisingly fierce performance earlier in the night became tainted by a seemingly desperate ploy for more stage time.
Ultimately, swarmed in the sea of passionate ravers and the occasional stage dancer, Mezzanine’s compact size was transcended. A-Trak was unrestrained. His passionate vitality and ear-pounding beats reached far beyond the confines of the venue, the audience, and the set itself. Bass vibrations followed the diligent A-Trak fans even after they left the venue.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix) club edit
Boys Noize - Oh! (A-Trak Remix)
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