While JGB was rocking the Den and Australian Pink Floyd played the Palace, Red Square hosted three electronic-based acts: Biodiesel, Digimun and Albany’s own Digital Dharma. I had no expectations going into the show, other than the knowledge that both Johnny Rabb and Clay Parnell of Biodiesel are both monumentally talented individuals. Clay Parnell has been an important and well known electronic bassist on the scene for years working with bands such as Brothers Past, The Join and Philabuster. Then there is Johnny Rabb, pioneer of the free-hand technique and a drumming legend. These two joined up to walk the line of Band & DJ and create an electronic super-duo that explores the new genre of “Livetronica.”
I was lucky enough to catch the very end of the opening act DigiMUN, which is a mash up of Digital Dharma and Mun from NYC, playing what they describe as “astrofunktronica”. DigiMUN was created after an accident involving bassist Steve Mink and keys/synth player Eli Ramos, which left both injured and Eli in critical condition. Eli insisted that band push forward after the accident, and DigiMUN was born.
DigiMUN is 100% improvised on the spot. Much of their influence is derived from bands including The Disco Biscuits, STS9 and The New Deal. You can tell that there is a connection between the band members, even after working together for such a short period of time. It was certainly a pleasure to be able to catch an up and coming collaboration group.
When Biodiesel hit the stage, drum and bass began emanating outside to the parking lot. The one thing I love more than seeing a show at Red Square is seeing a show where the back room is filled to capacity with a dancing crowd. You don’t expect much when going to see a two-man band but I found myself pleasantly surprised. The hard beats and bass lines had everybody in the crowd moving. One thing that stood out to me in particular were the samples they used to break apart the heavy beats. It was a perfect mix of man and machine and created a totally different atmosphere than I had expected. You could certainly tell that both Rabb and Carnell were pouring everything they had into their work and keeping the crowd hyped.
Biodiesel ended around 1am, relatively early but came back on for a hard hitting encore that left the entire crowd wanting more. Although I have seen Biodiesel a handful of times, it was refreshing to see such a high-powered show with a crowd to match.