Before we start, I must make a disclaimer letting you all know that I’m not a big fan of seeing EDM acts “live.” The idea is somewhat ludicrous to me. I see DJs fiddling knobs like they’re playing an etch-a-sketch and I wonder how this is live. So, why did I cover a small EDM show? Simply put: showmanship. It only takes a look at their video for “Say My Name” to know that Australia’s Peking Duk have fun doing what they do. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, click, I’ll wait.
Back? Good. Let’s recap the evening at Le Belmont starting with newcomers on the local scene, As Wolves. Montrealers Kyle Leclerc and Ryan Kennedy took to the board with a very playful style and set the party on stage. They mixed in some pop culture samples such as the Mortal Kombat fatality sound byte, which gave their set a bit of a unique flair. With great energy and stage presence (or board presence? Is that a thing?), the duo was a good fit to start off what was to come.
There was no pause after As Wolves’ almost two-hour set. They simply switched over some equipment while the music continued overtop and the reins were handed over (with a hug). We were on to the main course. When Peking Duk’s Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles hit the stage, they looked a lot like Andrew WK and Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale, a visual which informs your brain that the rest of your body is probably about to party hard. And that’s exactly what happened. They were more preoccupied with having fun and dancing than twiddling with knobs and that was a refreshing honesty. Although, through all the partying, they took a second to slow things down and in a moment of quiet thanked the crowd for joining them. They said they wanted to share love with everyone and asked for the audience to sing along together to Adele’s single, “Hello,” but they kicked in a beat at the chorus at, making it their own.
For a group with quite a few tracks of their own, they didn’t shy away from spinning some well-known pop songs into their set and it was clear yet again that they cared more about having a blast than ego. Although, honestly, can we quit it with the “Hotline Bling,” please? This group made sure everyone in the house had a smile on their face, well, at least those who had enough left in the tank for one.
A three-quarters capacity Belmont ate it up and were feeding off of the band’s energy. There were very few wallflowers in the swarm, but dancing like no one’s watching seemed to be the theme (hands in the air bopping up and down in unison). By hour four, I wondered if Axe body spray had ever considered sponsoring EDM acts and handed out samples in the crowd after a while. (It might be a good way to get people to actually wear Axe.)
A lot of EDM acts could take a cue from Peking Duk. They didn’t pretend there was more going on than there actually was and they just enjoyed themselves up there. That’s the way it should be. From start to finish this was a fantastic night and a celebration of music… and perhaps the substances that enhance your appreciation of throbbing beats.
Written by Richard Brunette
*edited by Danielle Kenedy