DJ Mehdi / Wax Romeo / Smalltown DJs The Hi-Fi Club, Calgary AB March 13

For those willing to spend their Friday at work deaf and exhausted, Thursday night’s line-up at Calgary’s Hi-Fi Club was hard to ignore. Headlined by Parisian legend and Ed Banger mainstay DJ Mehdi, the crowd was buzzing in anticipation. Fortunately, locals Wax Romeo and the Smalltown DJs kept things moving with a crossbreed of old school hip-hop and classic Motown. Backed by vintage b-boy footage from Wild Style, their sets, which were hard to differentiate, was more original than the standard in-house DJ set. Refusing to take themselves seriously, the openers left enough room in their hip-hop-heavy sets for guilty pleasures like Justin Timberlake’s "Like I Love You” and Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin’.” Even Gloria Estefan’s "Conga” made an appearance in the party-starting mix. After a long wait, DJ Mehdi took the stage and kicked the energy up a notch. Though Mehdi lacks that rock star charisma of his label-mates Justice, he certainly has the enthusiasm to get a crowd moving. Aiding him were a series of experimental cartoons that conveyed the good-natured humour inherent in his music. Combining the disco house of his own releases with sure-fire choices from LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk, and Justice themselves, the set was a huge hit. Though it would have been strengthened by some riskier choices and a little more to look at, Mehdi’s fervour brought the Hi-Fi’s humble stage to life. Keeping the crowd on their toes for hours on end, he did his job well. Where he lacks the hype and groundbreaking experimentation of his peers, DJ Mehdi excels as a dedicated and unpretentious performer, a fact that was emphasised that night.