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I Like to Move It, Move It - MSTRKRFT & Digweed @ Vanguard, 3/3

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When the lineup for the Diamonds ‘07 tour was announced this past January, it may have left some indie and electronic music aficionados scratching their heads. In its first year of what will become an annual event, Diamonds ’07, sponsored by MTV Urge and Puma, featured a split-bill between indie-electro favorites MSTRKRFT and Mega-Superstar DJ Digweed. Although both acts are founded on the general groundwork of “music to dance to,” until recently, Digweed and MSTRKRFT each had its own audience belonging to separate subcultures, released tracks and albums depicting dance music’s subgenres, and performed at venues belonging to non-intersecting music scenes.

MSTRKRFT, DJ duo from Ontario, Canada, is made up of ex- Death From Above 1979 member Jesse Keeler and DFA 1979 producer Al-P. While coming from an indie rock background, MSTRKRFT is purely electronic music, and like so many new DJs and electronic acts, play their tunes through Mac Powerbooks. Before their performance at Vanguard Saturday night, they seemed to wear their indie rock influence on their sleeves with remixes of artists such as Metric, DFA 1979, and the Killers. I’d argue differently now; while perhaps catering to Vanguard’s audience (the majority of attendees were there for Digweed), MSTRKRFT did play the remixes that made them “big with the kids,” (as well as bloggers and in turn, industry-heads) but for the most part, kept audiences waiting for something more. The music coming out of the speakers Saturday night was less melodic, less danceable, and less climactic than what MSTRKRFT has previously given listeners, whether it be through their 2006 debut album The Looks, or at prior live shows – they played Little Radio in July and Safari Sam’s this past Halloween. Instead of their usual graceful merge of indie/dance, their set on Saturday night was more along the lines of straight up techno.