BROKEN CITY, MAY 22, 2014
A friend of mine lamented once, in regards to DJ shows, that they were a lot of fun but essentially they could be anyone up there spinning and sampling; that the artist on stage lacks the same distinctive presence as say a guitar player or a drummer in a band. I’ll give him that on some level, save for a few that have made a haircut or a mouse mask a signature, but Longwalkshortdock is a project that is distinct and unmistakable, purely for the blatant enthusiasm displayed by mastermind Dave King.
Supporting act, Napoleon Skywalker, had done a particularly superb job in getting the techno crowd to that magic place where they start to talk about free energy and begin to move with physical abandon. Up until the show, I had likened NS to that guy you know who has a pop culture answer for everything: it’s fun to be around … until it isn’t. It seemed to be a little too gimmicky and not enough soul. However, their live show was a seamless soundscape and they managed to dose it just right to get everyone over the polarizing MC Ouda Ouda, who joined local beat maker TL1 in opening the night, as well as Broken City’s series of 10-year anniversary shows.
It wasn’t long before King took over the stage and started to send out that distinct sound. His music is at once soothing and primally tuned into human rhythm. It can be dub-y, dark and heavy but it can also blast into a clean techno place with soaring and gentle vocals. His voice is the cornerstone of his sound, a childlike entity that delivers words that are disarmingly candid and amazingly astute.
Also childlike is the aforementioned enthusiasm. When he is at the helm of his cockpit of a rig, he is filled with a sort of guileless abandon that makes it absolutely impossible not to get sucked in to his music with him. King is at the show to enjoy the music he makes just as much as you are, often waiting for the drop and then moving to center stage to enjoy it with you, head thrashing and arms outstretched to the crowd.
Longwalkshortdock is the perfect example of how some electronic music makers aren’t just in it for the party, though King will always be the first to say, “You’re not dancing hard enough.”
By Jennie Orton
Photos by Andrew Stirling