Daft Punk @ LA Sports Arena 7/21/07

Yesterday I made a pilgrimage to Los Angeles on a quest for the holy grail of electronic music: Daft Punk.

I had built up such a tension, such a desperate need for the cathartic release of two frenchmen as robots in leather, zip-up jackets, that I probably would've enjoyed their set even if they didn't perform on a gigantic and lit pyramid. Even if they hadn't had two massive screens on each side of the stage or cool robot helmets or the most insanely cool lighting known to man, I probably would've danced just as much to the songs I knew so well. But, the thing is that although they play sophisticated, catchy, danceable songs, Daft Punk live is an experience. It's not a show. It's the most interactive, colorful dance party I've ever attended. The pyramid flashed white, red, blue, human faces, human anatomy; it took us through space, became a rainbow and showcased the most notable house duo in the history of house.

But how can you love two robots? Good question! I wondered this beforehand, knowing that I'd love the music, but questioning how punk their demeanor would be. Mssrs. Bangalter and de Homem-Christo rewarded us with waving, peace signs and the ever-present pyramid, formed with their index fingers and thumbs. Oh my god, Daft Punk likes us! We're a good crowd! Oh my god. No joke, I was their to dance my brains out in hopes that the more I danced, the more they'd tour. Come on, I entrusted my night of dancing into the hands of these mericlessly impeccable masters, and they had the eeriest sense of exactly what the entire arena needed. Indulging us at first with Technologic, then Da Funk, One More Time, Robot Rock, Human After All, and Harder Better Faster Stronger, the classics bled together and I wondered how I'd ever considered them separate entities. Choosing a favorite is entirely impossible because there each song reached a point of complete madness, where Daft Punk took the crowd to the positive edge of what we expected and then wowed us repeatedly.

A few times, the pyramid and the floor would be lined with red light, and the daft punks appeared like cartoonish outlines of red robots. And near the end, whilst still in red, both turned their backs to us in a dramatic outro, exposing their chic Daft Punk-decaled jackets.

Prior to Daft Punk, we experienced SebastiAn, Kavinsky and Ratatat. Yes, finally, after two previously quashed attempts, I saw Ratatat and they were insatiable. I had heard rumors, both bad and good, and for the record, they were great. They started our with a snare, guitar and keyboards, proceeded to ditch the drum and use two guitars and the keyboards and sampler to give us dance with a higher dose of rock. When the growling hiss of Wildcat came on, everyone went bananas. Kavinsky and SebastiAn were killer as well, but Daft Punk was the bottom line last night. It was absolutely worth the twelve-hour roundtrip car ride and fifty-dollar tickets. It was an epic journey with unimaginable spoils. Plus I got a really cute t-shirt.


I am the fun blame cookie monster

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with Menomena! Although I saw them at the Clubhouse awhile back and was totally floored. Some crap band played, too. Oh! And local luminaries Colorstore played a brilliant set as well, totally outshining the crap band.

Okay, 1990s Rough Trade debut Cookies sounds so aesthetically Rough Trade. But seriously, you know that garagey, cocky male, tongue-in-cheek, gritty and totally lovable sound I speak of, no? God I love that sound. It's that trashy and obnoxiously sexy Strokes, Louis XIV and Babyshambles thing. All right, point is 1990s are badass geniuses, and they are well aware.

1990s consists of John McKeown, a Glaswegian guy and former Yummy Fur member, and Michael McGaughrin, who used to drum for V Twin. They like getting drunk, doing drugs and writing songs about all of the above. Alcohol and drugs are sources of inspiration for many, but here's the catch: 1990s are acually talented. It's crazy. You can clap your hands and shake your ass to all of these grooves.

The big-deal single "See You At The Lights" has nicely sporadic hand claps and sweet variations ba-ba's. "Get out like a blonde gets out of a car" makes me smile every time I hear it. Maybe it's because I have blonde hair. Maybe it's because I like getting out of cars. maybe 1990s are just really good and can do whatever they want.

Personally, I really dig "Cult Status." It's a nod to the egocentric apathetic hipster lodged within all of our souls. We don't care about our hair or clothes, or at least we claim not to care. Oh yeah, and we don't care about the ages of our 16--oops 15-year-old love interests. The self-worship trip peaks when McKeown growls: "My cult status keeps me fucking your wife."

Cookies is peppered with man power... I guess. I'm a bit unsure of how to define it. Between quips like "that's what girls are for (clap clap)," on Arcade Precinct, and "I'm glad we made the movie at your place," on opener "You Made Me Like It," it's all one-nighters and no regrets. Kapow. It's a riotous blast of drug-induced sexual energy, raw guitars and giddy sing-along opportunities.