DJ Lag MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 22

DJ Lag MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 22
Photo: Bruno Destombes
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For a relatively new genre (around eight or so years), gqom has garnered a significant fan base on the world stage. Its fast-paced, chewed-up style now seems to be a staple at major festivals around the globe, and DJ Lag is at the forefront of it all. If you're not familiar with the gqom sound, think South Africa's answer to Chicago footwork — and if you are familiar, then you really should see DJ Lag do his thing.
 
In a somewhat rare move, this was a hybrid DJ set, which in this case entailed Lag punching out some quick vocal samples here and there, but mostly sticking to the decks. That might not seem particularly involved, but as the set went on those vocal stabs played an important role in breaking up the music. Gqom is, by its very nature, a pretty repetitive style, and with an hour and half of it to go through it tends to get a tad same-y at points. It suffers the same fate as trance music, in that you can easily get lost in it or tune out completely, depending on your mood, but Lag punctuated his MUTEK set with enough reverb that one never strayed too far.
 
Repetition or no, you can't deny that this is truly booty shaking fare. Even a brief look around the audience told us that many who may not have spent much time with this kind of music, or are technically not even fans, just couldn't help themselves from bouncing around. Having coaxed a great deal of sweat out of the crowd's pores, Lag got on the mic to give us one last "1 2 3, let's go" (something he repeated throughout the night) before proudly waving a South African flag, with a big grin on his face.