Published Dec 11, 2015A packed dance floor and an eager crowd met Slow Magic's set at Distrikt Nightclub last night (December 10). It would be easy to dismiss Slow Magic as another gimmicky, mask-donning (his trademark, square-faced animal mask has pointed pointed ears and myriad colours alternating throughout the pattern), face-covering DJ bent on polluting the airwaves with the same trite, formulated material if there was any correlation, any hint of him rising in status by copying a market that's well overdone, but there isn't. Not even close.
While his albums at times straddle the border of background music — albeit background music you can throw on repeat and often perk up to — his live shows are a whole other beast, far removed from the ethereal, cosmic-washed sounds of his recorded output. For one, Slow Magic's entire set is heightened tenfold on all fronts by his use of live percussion. A floor tom and single tom-tom sat side by side a mere foot away from his laptop and midi set up, and rather than act as an occasional tool to add a bit of depth to a track here and there, the masked mystery used his phenomenal drumming skills throughout the entire set, spending the majority of the show with drumsticks in hand, pounding fiercely and jumping quickly to his setup during each track to tweak a sound or bring the next track in.
Compared to any electronically produced music blown through a sound system, the live drumming added a layer of sound so rich it makes you wonder why more DJs don't employ live instrumentation on their tours. He pulled equally from Triangle and latest release How To Run Away, throwing down early with tracks like "Hold Still" and massive crowd pleaser "Girls," and engaging with the crowd by offering up some drumming time to audience members, paying special attention to those sporting masks of their own.
Slow Magic exudes a palpable energy that's difficult to find at a live electronic show. While most DJs and producers create hype with well crafted executions — flashing lights and such — the crowd is often responsible for the energy and electricity of the room. Slow Magic flips that with his complete hands-on involvement, filling the space with a tangible current that's impossible to ignore. With no words exchanged, he expressed his gratitude by making a heart symbol with his hands and leaning into the crowd several times to show his appreciation.
He stormed the small venue with a powerful performance made even more fitting by Slow Magic's anonymity, his persona masked (literally) and shrouded in complete mystery, letting his music and performance speak for themselves.