Decibel Festival 2014: Dance Nostalgic, featuring Com Truise, Lindstrøm, Midnight Magic, and Avalon Emerson

Decibel Festival, Live Reviews
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Victoria Holt

Saturday night is the night for dancing - Decibel Festival fans have known that for 10 years. You'll dance every other night of the festival too, no doubt. But Saturday is where you can bank on the fact that you will work up a sweat on the dance floor and at one point consider buying drinks for everyone there. At Showbox, the extra promise made with tonight's tagline was nostalgia, something that in the age of anniversary tours and "best new reissues" may translate poorly. But make no mistake: guys like Lindstrøm and Com Truise's Seth Haley don't regurgitate the past - they've taken the golden genres of decades past into the future and perfected them. Com Truise with his neon brilliance and computer love melancholy, and Linstrøm with that crisp, diamond disco sound that can only come from the likes of this Norwegian disco god - there's no need to rely on nostalgia here. Together with Brooklyn disco ensemble Midnight Magic and Bay area dance producer Avalon Emerson, the night was one massive dance party from beginning to end.

Avalon Emerson is one of those people that reminds you what your life could look like at full volume. Emerson is a software engineer and web designer by day, does professional fashion photography here and there, and then throws house-heavy DJ sets in warehouses by night. Plus, her original material is totally dynamite, exploring the outer edge of experimental disco and house with a flair for noise. Opening up the show tonight was the first of two Decibel 2014 appearances as she threw another set at Kremwerk later in the evening. Some people just don't need sleep. Emerson's set was a great time, with a genre-blending mixture of sounds, all ending in a Talking Heads appearance. Not much to complain about here at all.Avalon Emerson:

Midnight Magic are not just a band on a stage - they are also a full stage production that could go nicely in a dinner theater or the like. Following all of Tiffany Roth's jokes before, after, and during songs, along with all of her personality antics was a full time gig. And with the stellar band ripping out one textbook vintage disco riff after another, Midnight Magic were like watching a live production of Saturday Night Fever done in epic fashion.

Midnight Magic:

Hans-Peter Lindstrøm - how shall I compare thee? A god amongst mere mortals in every room he enters, the spirit of disco emanates from his every word. Tonight at the Showbox, it looked like Lindstrøm hadn't jumped off the plane more than 5 minutes ago, rocking a fleece pullover and a beanie, looking about as chill as is humanly possible. He smiled at the crowd lightly and then commenced the disco, and from there, it was all magic and no funny business. Using the same Kinect setup that El Ten Eleven showed off the night before, Lindstrøm's head-bobbing doubled silhouette burned a shimmering neon against the back wall, like a danceable rorschach test. Burning through almost all original material, Lindstrøm needed no substitute for the real thing Saturday night. He bobbed through an hour long set of magic, occasionally laughing at the people there that were way too drunk and then just smiling out at the dancing throng to his front where it seemed comfortable, and then he was gone. Like a sunset over the Grand Canyon, or seeing a unicorn, Lindstrøm arrived, blew our minds, then disappeared.


Seth Haley may be a man of few words atop his towering neon pentagon, but what he doesn't communicate with words he does with massive, shimmering dance tracks. As the tower throws alternating beams of blinding color in every direction, Haley alternates between dueling synthesizers, topping every pounding drum and snare march with an armada of oscillating textures. From the Galactic Melt classics like "VHS Sex" and "Brokendate" to Wave 1 unwavering winners like "Declination" and "Subsonic", Com Truise made his way through the better part of his released in unspeakable fashion. Jumping on the microphone only once or twice to thank the crowd for an incredible night of response, Haley mostly kept things ice cold and razor sharp, while the crowd bumped and swayed to every track.

Com Truise:

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