I love 80s music as much as the next hipster-twixter, and there were plenty of us at the Kavinsky show. As far as the venue goes, the Telus Theatre was mediocre. Walking down the stairs into the cavernous hall to be met with a sea of smelly bodies was not what I had envisioned. Its saving grace was the mezzanine which provided a great view of the stage, as well as a current of a funny smelling smoke. For some unkown reason, I felt really relaxed sitting up there.
I missed the first two acts, but I managed to catch Dead Horse Beats around 12:30. I was surprised to see a saxophone and guitar duo accompanied by a mixer cranking out electronic music. Some songs were mellow, but others were accompanied by hard beats. They even mixed in some old school hiphop. Their eclectic sound and the fact that they played real/traditional instruments put them in my good books. I will definitely try to find out if they will be playing in the city again.
Kavsinky came on around 1:30. Just before he started, he could be seen moving about behind the screen on stage. He stopped briefly in front of a spotlight, casting a large and somewhat skewed shadow. This really got the crowd going, and they only grew louder as his silhouette donned his trademark red and white sports coat. The transformation was complete, as normal Vincent Belorgey became his alter ego: the electric zombie who survived a lethal car crash in the 80s. His nostalgic sound accompanied by simple lighting and geometric background projections really made me feel like I had gone back in time, minus the sea of glowing screens from smartphones below. They were whipped out all at once to document the mysterious glow of his red eyes, by way of illuminated glasses. Similar to Daft Punk, I really appreciated Kavinsky’s commitment to his character. It brought a simple DJ set to another level of performance art.
Unfortunately, the set list was pretty predictable considering that he has one album (OutRun) and a few singles. I was disappointed that he played for only an hour at most. How could he still be touring around the world on songs he released years ago? He ended with Night Call, sending the crowd into a sing-along frenzy. Displayed on the screens were scrolling outlines of a cityscape, creating the feeling of driving through a city in slow motion. He flicked on his electric glasses one last time before the lights came on, and he came out from behind his booth to take our applause in full-view, high-fiving a few fans before disappearing. He did not come back for an encore, though we chanted his name and waited for several minutes. Unless he releases another album, I won’t be seeing Kavinsky again.