Plaid / Luke Vibert / Chris Clark Opera House, Toronto ON - November 11

Warp Records' latest tour swung through Toronto for a night of occasionally danceable laptop-produced electronic goodness. Chris Clark started the night off with a laptop, effects and keyboard set that included break beats, techno and even a little minimal house. His set was heavy on piercing high frequencies but too often he would disrupt the groove he was building just when the crowd was beginning to dance. Luke Vibert followed with the most surprising set of the night. For his first half-hour he played his older trip-hop and new down-tempo acid house and break beats. It was fun and funky, and often felt like a real acid house party from the late 1980s. The next half was all techno, some of it sampled and remixed from old hardcore tracks by Aphex Twin and Plastikman. That left no time for drum & bass, which was a disappointment. Plaid rounded out the night with a full hour of dual laptops, effects and a 25-foot projection screen with a live mixed video. Most of the material came from their latest album, Spokes, which mixes beautiful melodies with fast break beats, some danceable, others abstract. "New Family" was certainly the hit of the night, combining their best video — apparently a Japanese television ad for depression medication — and their best melody into a single package. The live video mixing and the quality of their music sets them far above the typical laptop performance.