The Dog & Pony Show One-Year Anniversary
Starring Alexander Robotnick, Thugfucker, and CCC
Thor at the Rivington Hotel
Sunday, February 27
Better Than: The ASPCA’s Happy Hardcore Party at the Hotel Carter.
Pulling in at the tail end of a long, party-drenched weekend that brought a ridiculous amount of heavy-hitter DJs to town, the Dog & Pony Show spend Sunday celebrating their one-year anniversary at Thor on the ground floor of the swanktastic Rivington Hotel. The party is subtitled “Lost in Music,” an apt way to describe D&P masterminds Dave Kers and Paul Raffaele over the last 12 months, not to mention the state of affairs here tonight, provided you could actually hear the music in question.
Thugfucker are on when we arrive, with most people still straggling in. Their deep set visits classic house in the form of Roland Clark’s “I Get Deep,” a monster Sarah Vaughn sample or two, and a sweet ending with Arthur Russell’s “This Is How We Walk on the Moon.” The boys have an interesting sound that borders on dubbed-out, sped-up soul music.
Then the man himself, Alexander Robotnick, takes the “stage” and opens with a remix of Eddie Murphy’s favorite synth jam, “Axel F,” which is never unwelcome. Robotnick (terrestrial name: Maurizio Dami) delivers his live set with a laptop and a Roland keyboard, doing live remixing on the spot; it’s hard to know just what to expect from a legend like this, as it’s been 28 years since he burst onto the international scene with “Problemes D’Amour,” and dance music has changed just a bit since. But he proves himself far more than your mom’s Italian synth legend: Whereas most countrymen his age are cruising Lake Como looking for Clooney’s cabin or a nice bolognese, Robotnick is still gigging and recording. Tonight he glides in and out of many genres, all of which have one thing in common: big, grandiose buildups and breakdowns. Charlie’s electro classic “Spacer Woman,” Superdiscount’s “Who Made Who” remix, a trance-y version of Chic’s “Good Times,” and his own recent “Obsession for the Disco Freaks” are all hit upon at some point; at times the music gets a little too progressive, as if Robotnick may have birthed Tiesto many years earlier in an ill-advised one-night stand with a Dutch prostitute. As much fun as people are having, the DJ himself seems to have the best time of all, doing an endearingly awkward Egyptian dance. Out come the Flip cameras to record it for tomorrow’s Euro-TMZ.
Playing clean-up to Robotnick is no easy feat, but Night Plane & Harry are up to the task. Although both are ace re-editors in their own right, together as CCC, their disco powers only widen. Much of the dance floor clears out by the time they begin, which is a shame, because their live debut is confident and commanding, highlighted by their own edits, including two celestial groovers constructed from Beach House and Warpaint tracks. The music has the hallmarks of the lazily named “Ketamine House” sound, but injected with a much-needed blast of psychedelia and a much-appreciated lack of self-seriousness.
Tonight’s crowd is mostly made up of trainspotters, random disco pervs, and some upscale groups who were probably here all afternoon. For some reason the sound all night is kept at a way too respectable volume for a party of this size/magnitude, as if we’re in danger of waking someone’s parents above the dance floor. Which needs to be worked out ASAP, as heavyhitters like Jamie Jones and Tiefshwarz are playing the party soon, and we want to get lost in that music, too.
Critical Bias: Enough with the hotels, people. Seriously. A hotel party has to be twice as good simply to justify its existence.
Overheard: “After we get outta here, we should go back to your place and do some of these bath salts I keep hearing so much about.”
Random Notebook Dump: The light-up dancefloor is named the PAL-9000. Hardee har.