Show Review: Darth & Vader at Kingdom
Kingdom is an amazing venue. Its located in the heart of Shockoe, down a cobblestone alley. Crowds pour out between sets to smoke cigarettes, lean on dumpsters, and be pouty. And while the crowd for the Darth & Vader show might have had more glow sticks than common sense, and the headliner might have been a little less than impressive, it’s always good to see a venue like Kingdom in Richmond, giving smaller acts a proper space to perform.
Darth & Vader is Hugo Castellan, a Brazilian DJ that boast’s “huge recognition from north to south of Brazil” on their Facebook page. Less than 26 years old, Castellan has been playing in bands and DJing since he was a youth. In 2007, he claims to have first heard and then to have fallen in love with electronic music. He’s toured North America, Australia and played festivals the world over.
A listen to his Sound Cloud page takes you to a collection of remixes that tantalize – a mix of dub and hard electro that has its moments of quality beats and hooks. Lady Gaga, Dirtyphonics, Danny Dove, and other electronic stars have given him the chance to mix their jams – and of course, there is a mix of the Star Wars theme. (which I am less convinces he got legal authorization to mix)
Sadly, all this remix cred does not translate into a solid live show. Opening up with the Star Wars theme was kitschy enough, but given a solid opportunity for a major bass drop, he stumbled into album versions of tracks that sound more like a radio DJ playing songs than a club DJ mixing tracks.
The light show – which could have been Kingdom’s – was one of the more exciting parts of the evening. A translucent screen was placed above the crowd, and when the laser effects hit the screen, it produced a 3D effect that was impressive in the dark. High intensity light effects do help rile an audience up, but when the music plays a secondary role at an electronic show, something is wrong.
I’ve seen electronic acts from around the world. I’ve seen them in dirtier and darker venues. And these other acts have killed it. Darth & Vader might have sufficed for the few kids rolling their face off in the crowd, but its 2013, and “just pressing play” and switching CD’s doesn’t cut it anymore.
I praise Kingdom for securing an international act – one of the reasons I wanted to see this show was because it’s always good to catch a touring act you might never see again. But if Darth & Vader is “famous” for low intensity builds and top 40 track “mixes” than maybe modern Brazilian club DJ’s can to no longer be trusted as an international authority.
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
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