Saturday, January 10, 2009
Mansion, Miami Beach
Better than: Anything else going on in the MIA electronic music scene that night.
Club Mansion was considerably empty for what was probably the most stellar international DJ set they've hosted in recent times. While he has yet to attain the ubiquitous presence and instant name recognition some of his peers enjoy in Miami, Sébastien Léger was in top form last Saturday night and delivered a widely appealing live show.
Mansion's mezzanine area was closed off (presumably due to low attendance) and the crowd dispersed enough throughout the ground floor to allow for ample elbow room, oftentimes a luxury at this usually jam-packed venue. In this case it enabled a performance that was both intimate and in the company of a positively receptive crowd eager to use the extra space to dance.
An EDM powerhouse in his own right, Léger has been a staple of the European scene for close to a decade, releasing a series of compelling genre-bending remixes and original productions that blend a classic melodic sensibility (he's a trained pianist) with the diverse idioms of contemporary dance music. He references everything from funky Chicago house to minimal techno in his repertoire and there is a uniquely refined balance and harmony of mix-matched styles in his live delivery.
He kicked off Saturday's set with his signature "Intro," a chord progression of warm synth pads that builds up with slow epic emotion to a climatic burst of funk-addled bass-driven goodness, making the expectant crowd explode with euphoria. This auspicious beginning set the tone for the rest of his performance, which effortlessly careened through a selection of crisp techy house, bordering on the minimal side but accentuated by enough tasteful vocals and funky grooves to indulge his crowd.
Léger's DJing technique proved impeccable as he seamlessly cruised though tracks as varied as the softly melodic crowd favorite "Majuro" to a harder-edged remix of Marylin Manson's "The Beautiful People." He also managed to please his Miami audience with plenty of the
Latin-inflected house beats they adore, without cramping his own European style.
Personal Bias: I've followed Léger's work for a couple years now and
though this was my first time seeing him perform, his spectacular 2008
Essential Mix hinted at the greatness he can pull off live.
Random Detail: A highlight of Léger's set was when he dropped Daft Punk's "Around the World" before segueing into his own remix of it, and the crowd went totally wild. That track never gets old!
By the Way: If you missed out on Léger last Saturday, make sure to catch his next show at Pryda Night for the 2009 Winter Music Conference.