Live: Alan Braxe at Studio B


Alan Braxe
Studio B
Saturday, March 7

During my college years my fellow scholars invented something called the “Time-Change Riot.” On the night of the spring-forward daylight-saving shift, and thus apparently robbed of a whole hour of bar time, the spurned drinkers, ejected into the streets, elected to gather in large groups on the sidewalk, shout vile oaths at no one in particular, light a few trash cans on fire, and… well, that was it. It was dumb. (Historical footnote: At the exact moment this was occurring, I was on the air at our college radio station, doing, like, Afghan Whigs rock blocks or something. There is no correlation.) As a result of this, I am extremely sensitive to daylight saving’s effects on nightlife, and thus the metaphysical oddity of French electronic-music purveyor Alan Braxe beginning his set at around 2 a.m., and then, bam, suddenly it’s fuckin’ 4:15. I am not ordinarily this kind of guy.

Neither was he, from the looks of it. Grizzled-looking and decidedly stoic, Braxe did not much visually resemble the thrillingly bombastic, outrageously maximalist dancefloor supernovas with which he’s made his modest name. (His ascension, along with Benjamin Diamond and Daft Punker Thomas Bangalter in the impromptu trio Stardust, was the indomitable “Music Sounds Better With You.”) Whether it’s his own stuff or various remixes (Justice, Kylie Minogue, Britney, etc.), he tends toward extreme bursts of sleaze and/or cheese, with monolithic hooks pounded out on synths the aural size of the Verrazano Bridge. But he seems decidedly impassive just now, Treasure Fingers’ manic “Cross the Dancefloor” bursting gleefully forth as he surveys a modest but enthusiastic crowd jumping up to slap Studio B’s extremely large, extremely low-hanging disco ball.

He perks up exactly once. After a teasing, unsatisfying grazing of “Music Sounds Better With You,” he suddenly begins pumping both fists exuberantly as his “In Love With You” issues forth, the gooiest, most unguardedly ultra-romantic moment in his or possibly anyone’s canon, the cooing synths light as air and thick as steel, the hook just the title lovingly moaned over and over. Alan is really, really excited to be playing this song. He should be. It’s the perfect thing to hear just now, and whatever time it happens to be.

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