We recently had two very special guests for our weekly EDM night at The Mousetrap, Altered Thurzdaze. The evening’s headliner was intelligent drum and bass music producer and DJ LTJ Bukem (here all the way from the UK), joined by mind-boggling wordsmith Armanni Reign.
Reign’s elite live emcee skillset brought a special component to the night. I’ve seen a few vocalists sing live to electronic dance music before- ill.esha and Collette come to immediate mind- but this was fast, impeccably articulated rapping to the tune of drum-n-bass. “Feel free to dance,” Reign instructed as Bukem kicked off his set at midnight. “If you can’t dance, shake your shoulders!”
For nearly an hour, Bukem doled out smooth, groovable beats and liquid jazz seamlessly interwoven with powerful bouts of breakbeats and bass. Somewhere around 1 a.m. the mood shifted and everything got faster- in both Bukem’s swift productions and Reign’s sharp emceeing.
Later, The Mousetrap roared with excitement when Bukem dropped (and rewound) “’Deep Breathing”, a track from Indy’s own Dave Owen. Although Bukem had moved behind the decks with calm energy and emotion up to this point in the show, he had also maintained a “no funny business” demeanor with little indication of ever cracking a smile through the first half of his set. But as he played the track from Owen- one of the newest artists on Bukem’s own Good Looking Records label- in front of the local producer’s hometown fans, the electrifying moment finally broke the flood gates and laughter started to flow through him.
Bukem stretched his set until two a.m. and managed to slip in yet another Dave Owen track- this time “Almost There” by LSTN, a side project by Owen and Toronto-based GRIMM. By 2:15, weary fans on the dance floor had said their good-byes and gradually began to disperse, while diehards lingered for Owen’s closing set.
Bukem’s exceptional two-hour performance presented great opportunity for new and old fans alike. Rookies to the drum-and-bass scene had the privilege of getting their feet wet with one of the genre’s most legendary DJs. Old school followers of the DnB gospel saw their dreams brought to fruition when one of the most influential producers of their time stepped on stage at The Mousetrap in their own home city. Undeniably, it was a memorable night for the history books in Indy’s EDM scene.
Review: Altered Thurzdaze w/Elite Force @ The Mousetrap Bar & Grill 10/8/12
There aren’t a lot of electronic artists with as much talent as Elite Force. He truly is, a force to be reckoned with and a very special treat to have in Indianapolis. That’s why I journeyed to The Mousetrap for Altered Thurzdaze on November 8, 2012. Elite Force masters his realms of electronic music. Being regarded as one of the best break artist worldwide. His music also features components of house, tech house, techno, and bass-driven warehouse music. His musical mastery, in connection with his selective choices for dates in the United States, made it even more essential to attend this event. For example, Elite Force only scheduled six dates in the US, with every show except for the Indy Mojo event located on the East and West Coasts(Los Angeles, Baltimore, San Diego, Orlando, Indianapolis, and San Francisco). He even played at the famed Burning Man in the past. The very notion of him allowing for Indianapolis to witness his music was remarkable. As I entered The Mousetrap that evening I grew increasingly excited about being a part of something very special. The artist on stage was L810c, a local electronic artist, and no stranger to Altered Thurzdaze. He was blasting out beautiful break music, and perfectly preparing the crowd for the main act. I grooved to his beats as I watched to flutter of the crowd.
The vibe of the crowd was special, an aura which has made Altered Thurzdaze a staple for local electronic music fans. Everyone seemed to be on the same level and fully understood how special Elite Force was going to make this evening. The energy increased as James B. and Jeremy Daeger treated the crowd to a special 2X4 set, which featured both local artists’ crisp break beats and fun stage presence.As their set was coming to a close, Elite Force began preparing on stage for his set with the crowd in front of the stage growing by the second. It was almost time.After a short break, Elite Force took the stage and quickly showed me what the hype was all about. Quickly spewing out popping beat breaks with explosive electro-house energy. Within seconds he had the crowd raging to the masterful sounds he was producing. His set continued with the crispest breaks I’ve heard from an electronic artist in a very long time. His musical mastery was equally matched with an energetic and positive stage presence. He smiled and bounced around the stage, fueling off of the energy of the crowd. Elite Force was perfectly producing sounds of high energy, with funky hip hop mixes, allowing him to perfectly time the breaks and supercharge the crowd. Most notably, charging the crowd by mixing in well-known artists like Jay-Z with his high energy to create the perfect flow. Fans wailed as Elite Force continued to build the energy and drop bass with precision and perfect timing. Rarely does an artist make me groove so hard and snatch the life out of my legs in such a remarkable manor. Normally, I can gauge when the beats are about to drop, but not on this glorious evening. Elite Force continued to have me guessing the entire set and I very much like it that way. Sometimes electronic artists are somewhat predictable in the beats they produce, but not one time did the sound he produced seem predictable. He had created sounds which created one of the funnest dance parties I’ve been a part of at an Altered Thurzdaze event. He was fully delivering what the crowd needed on this special night.
As the set began to come to a close, Elite Force kindly thanked the crowd for the magical night. He was everything electronic artists should attempt to become; a producer of insanely good sounds and well-crafted beats, a fun and connected stage presence, and humbleness towards the fans who make it possible. I was euphoric as I exited the venue for fresh air and he was was the reason for the elevated mental state. Elite Force is an artist I hope to see again. Hopefully at another Altered Thurzdaze. Definitely a must-see artist for any fan of electronic music. Elite Force set the bar high for future Altered Thurzdaze performers, which will surely be raised with even more amazing acts like LTJ Bukem, MC Armanni Reign, and Phutureprimitive coming to Altered Thurzdaze in the upcoming weeks. Elite Force exceeded everything I hoped for that night. Leaving I and others wondering how he did so with such precision and ease. I truly enjoyed being a part of such an awesome evening. If I were you, I wouldn’t miss the next opportunity at Altered Thurzdaze to be a part of something so special.
Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter of Wide Aperture Images
Words by: Alex Toy