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Friday Night: ¡Mayday! at Transit Lounge

¡Mayday! 

Friday, June 19, 2009 
Transit Lounge, Miami 

Better than: A photo of yourself. 

The Review: Sometimes a club fills with 400 and every single one seems to be starring in his or her own personal reality show. That was the scene at Transit Friday night. The entire crowd came armed with Elphs, iPhones, or Rebels, snapping self-portraits. Although, not everyone was modeling only for themselves. Flat-chested chicks flashed non-existent cleavage for random dude photo-ops while, nearby, a dozen amateur videographers shot footage of b-boys practicing secret jive handshakes. Then, there was me, taking notes on the narcissistic swarm and their general fetish for auto-documentation. 
Even headliners ¡Mayday! joined the orgy of instant nostalgia, having hired a three-man HDV camera crew to capture the landmark moment of their Technology EP release party. However, there wasn't much to tape in the run-up to the main event. From 11 p.m., DJs Sharpsound

and Vega spun classic hip hop (Skee-Lo, Jay-Z, Outkast, etc.) while the

assembled cross-section of downtown and Brickell types, both males and

females, sucked back soda-booze mixes between posing for pics. The

house momentarily came alive during a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song sing-along, before scratch kid DJ I-Dee, wearing a neon Gandhi T-shirt, quieted things down again with a 20-minute exercise in dance-rock deconstructionism. 


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    Another half-hour lull later and the throng

    had finally grown bored, sick of entertaining itself. So the rarely

    seen master of ceremonies took the stage and swiped the mike, totally

    ready to reclaim the party. But the DJ miscued, killing the rap muzak.

    And that's all it took: a chant of "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" cutting

    through the crowd while the MC waved his hands helplessly. 


    Without

    hesitation though, the lights went dead and ¡Mayday! streaked onto

    Transit's small corner stage, like weird apocalyptic paratroopers in

    black bodysuits and gas masks. Harsh white stage beams sliced through

    total darkness, a pair of breakdancing hype-men battled shadows with

    flashlights, and the band pounded through a five-minute, free-beat

    instrumental intro. Anonymous bodies bumped me and I bumped them. Loose

    groups left the bar, booths emptied, and the parking lot patio became

    half-abandoned. Everyone flooded the warehouse-like interior, quickly

    clotting into a single sweaty mass, dancing where we could and pogo-ing

    where we couldn't. 


    Suddenly, the lights

    returned and every member of ¡Mayday! had somehow finished a full

    wardrobe change. With his Rick Rubin beard and bald head, piano man

    Plex Luthor stood behind twin keyboards in a red tiger t-shirt. Three

    other band members, stripped back to their street clothes, manned a

    bongo rack, a second key deck, and a five-piece drum kit.

    The crew's vocal duo -- BernBiz in red Wayfarers and Wreckonize in a

    huge hoodie -- materialized out of the still-dark crowd, launching into

    a breakneck burst of old faves that bled from "Let Go" into "On 2

    Someth'n" into "The Future is Now." There was more sweat-soaked

    dancing, pogo-ing, and body bumping.

    At the edge of the stage, there were the camera guys and the bloggers.

    Then, there were those who had turned inexplicably away from the band,

    pointing their Elph/iPhone/Rebel at themselves or into nowhere, using

    the camera flash as nothing more than a party strobe. But center stage,

    there was Wrekonize, stopping for a second of silence before shouting:

    "Who's ready for something new?" 


    Critic's Notebook

    Personal Bias: Off the fresh slab of ¡Mayday! material, "Junkyard Dog" is a serious stand-out.

     


    Random Detail:

    The side-alley, band-and-press-only backstage area was empty, except

    for a couple feasting on each other's faces. I interrupted their

    vicious make-out session. They sneered. And I left. 


    By the Way: You could go full pirate and download Technology at mayday.bandcamp.com for free. Or you could be an honest, pay-for-play fan and get it through iTunes. Either way, it's on you.


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