@ Cairo, Seattle, WA, September 22, 2012
The small art gallery/clothing shop Cairo was host to a fantastic quartet of electronic artists on a chilly September night in the Northwest. Iâ€™ve been a fan of the 100% Silk label for a while, but every tour theyâ€™ve done has passed me by; that is, until I moved from the Midwest to Seattle. Little did I know that two of the headlining groups are from Portland, OR, so a show in the Emerald City would be an easy commute. Although I was not as familiar with Strategy and Polonaise as I am with, say, Ital, Magic Touch, and Octo Octa, tonightâ€™s show convinced me that there are a lot of heavy hitters on the L.A.-based label.
I was not sure whether I was in for a more DJ-centric show, or if these acts had something else cooked up. Thankfully they opted for the latter, as four DJs in a row would be pretty boring. After an opening set from Seattleâ€™s Secret Colors, Polonaise were first up for the showcase, and they used a set of samples and triggers to manipulate their tracks, and it made for a stellar set of deep house grooves. Their recent release on 100% Silk, the Trocadero 12â€ť, boasts four well-crafted techno jams, with nods to European house, as well as Detroit techno. While the audience was small, those in attendance were all as fired up as Polonaise was.
Leech was up next, and unfortunately the energy level receded a bit during this set. Thatâ€™s not to say that Leechâ€™s music was bed, but his more cerebral-minded tracks probably work better on headphones than on the dancefloor (as evidenced by this studio track HERE). There were a few moments where he locked into a groove, but those were interspersed with more abstract samples and hooks. Again, not saying it was bad, but it tended to halt the dancefloor momentum that Polonaise had worked up.
The final set of the night was definitely the best. Oregon-based Strategy, aka Paul Dickow, has been around for quite a while, as I recently discovered. According to his website he has been making music under the Strategy moniker since 1999, and his veteran status showed in his well-refined set. His blend of dub, minimalism, and old school house made for a crowd pleasing cap to the night. He opened up by asking the crowd whether or not they wanted the bass turned up, which they responded to with an enthusiastic yes. The feel good vibes of his Silk-released EP Boxy Music were in full force, and the crowd was feverishly dancing throughout the set. He announced a new full-length for the 25th of September, and after that set I hope to get that LP as soon as possible.
This was, in my mind, an essential show for fans of 100% Silk, as well as fans of quality electronica. Although this mini-tour was confined to Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle, if any reader should find these acts coming to their town, I would strongly recommend checking them out. Be sure to bring your friends, because Polonaise and Strategy put on one hell of a dance party.