Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Maximum Wolf, Noise Bar, 18/08/2012 (debut live performance)

Etienne de Crecy and his cube. The Chemical Brothers and their all-out psychedelic big-screen visual assault. And of course, Daft Punk and their pyramid. Make no mistake, the game has changed dramatically when it comes to presenting electronic music in a live format, and it simply isn't enough anymore to have the performing act standing up there on stage with his/her/their computer/synths/turntables and merely playing the songs back. Punters have come to expect a little more now - they want blinding, potentially seizure-inducing lights. They want lasers. They want visual material. And god help anyone who's not making an effort to look like they're "playing" the music that's coming out of the speakers.

Perhaps it was these factors weighing on the mind of a young Melbourne electronic artist by the name of Maximum Wolf, for when he rocked up to popular Brunswick haunt The Noise Bar for a very late-night Friday live set, he brought everything he possibly could to enhance his show. Despite it being the very first time he had performed live under the name, he clearly wanted to make a good impression, and brought along an impressive live set-up and lightshow to showcase a few tracks from his debut album SPACESCAPES, which was released in June and is available now for free download at his Bandcamp page, as well as some other material he's been working on recently. It was one of those performances where the smoke machine was used to, if you'll pardon the pun, its maximum capabilities, and it was barely five minutes into the performance before the entire room was blanketed in fog and it was essentially impossible to see Maximum Wolf onstage - but that didn't matter, for the effect he'd created only enhanced the atmosphere of the show. He'd clearly put a bit of thought into exactly how to present the set with its best possible ambience - perhaps the simplest yet most effective touch was placing a metal sheet in front of the table with his "MW" logo cut out of it, and aiming his laser and strobe lights through the gap.

It was an unfortunate but undeniable fact that the performance did not run 100% smoothly for Maximum Wolf, but in all fairness, things went quite well considering that it was, as mentioned, his first performance under this alias and with this material under his belt. It can't be an easy task to play the music, and control the lights and laser simultaneously, but that was the task faced by Maximum Wolf tonight. It was noted that the whole setup didn't sync perfectly at times, such as the laser not firing when it was supposed to during the more intense musical moments he produced, but with one guy controlling everything in his first ever gig, the minor imperfections were easily put aside as the small crowd, mainly consisting of close friends, enjoyed a short but solid live set, with many not hesitating to get their dance on! A debut performance is always a tough thing to go through, but despite a few technical hitches here and there, most agreed that Maximum Wolf had put in a great effort for his first, and hopefully the first of many, live shows!