all photos by author, except where noted.
Earlier this week DC got a visit from two legendary electronica DJ/producers two nights in a row. On Monday night, perpetual innovator and second-wave Detroit techno demi-god Richie Hawtin set-up shop at U Street Music Hall. On Tuesday night, the world’s most well-known DJ and trance techno titan Paul Oakenfold took over the 9:30 Club. The two concerts delivered epic dance parties and for anyone with a day job sandwiched in-between they offered a sleep-deprived, bass-driven euphoria that was reminiscent of the raves of yore.
The two concerts were fantastic and delivered on everything that they promised; which proved to be two very different things. Oakenfold and Hawtin have each been a major force in the world of electronic music for the past twenty years. The two occupy opposite ends of a huge swath of the electronic dance music spectrum. Oakenfold’s trance is about as mainstream as it gets; he has a huge following around the world and he has produced some of the most recognizable dance tunes of film, television, and radio. Richie Hawtin is a king of the underground, his often challenging music is designed to intellectually engage the listener as much as it is to get their feet moving. Oakenfold’s style is more pop consumable, while Hawtin, although ragingly popular in his own circles, is more of an acquired taste. Their concerts this week were relentless dance parties but also offered a fascinating live example of two very different styles of dance music and its presentation.