When you ask most people in Boston if they’ve heard “Timebomb,” “Dirty Talk,” or “Till Tonight” they’ll usually identify them as “techno songs.” Ask Laidback Luke about the Boston scene, and even he will admit that his genre of choice isn’t the most popular, “Boston is not a primary market, to be honest.”
Let’s face it: the EDM scene in Boston is almost nonexistent. With the exception of the occasional Duck Sauce drop at Tequilla Rain on Lansdowne St, it’s pretty unusual to have an act like Luke roll through town — but he did last Wednesday night, and we were there to capture the action.
But when he took the stage last Wednesday night at Royale, you could have told me us that we were at Ruby Skye in San Francisco or Pacha NYC and we might have actually believed you. Luke began his set with Chris Brown and Benny Bennasi’s catchy tune, “Beautiful People.” Dropping this popular track first immediately got the energy going in the club.
From there, Luke kept on powering forward, stringing together a stream of recognizable tracks that even your regular top-40 listener could pick out. The mash up of his own banger, “Till Tonight” with the Afrojack / Pitbull collaboration, “Give Me Everything” got the crowd singing along and pushing closer to the stage. As the crowd grew, Luke transitioned into a bit of a harder sound, but still kept the crowd’s attention with the Hardwell remix of Robin S’s “Show Me Love.”
But it wouldn’t be a Laidback Luke performance if he didn’t push the boundaries a bit, so he took a page from his EDC set to take things to a serious level. Taking a page from his set at EDC, Luke dropped his mashup of Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar” with his own collaboration with Diplo, “Hey.”
His remix of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller“, and Wynter Gordon’s “Dirty Talk” were instant crowd pleasers. The next track in his stable was Swedish House Mafia’s ‘”Miami 2 Ibiza” and that laid the foundation for the second half of his set.
In order to fully appreciate a Laidback Luke performance, you have to understand his approach to a set. For him, it’s all about experimentation. “Sometimes DJs tend to stick to their own guns and are afraid to experiment more. With me, its all about the save. I get myself into trouble and wonder how the hell I’m going to get out of it. If you do it successfully it just adds to the energy.”
After playing his remix of MSTRKRFT’s “Heartbreaker,” Luke toyed around with some rolling drum and bass and his signature “bleepy” house. But that was just a tease. Luke suddenly dropped Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right,” waking the crowd up and getting everyone jumping towards the ceiling. LBL continued to pump up the crowd when he dropped his edit of Kanye West’s and Rihanna’s “All Of The Lights,” which got the entire crowd singing and fist pumping in unison.
Other highlights in his set included an interesting procession of dubstep tracks, most notably the Jay Robinson “Optimal Grime” track which he featured in his essential mix. Unsurprisingly, the one track to top them all was “Turbulence.” At one point, we were worried that floor would give way and the ceiling would come crashing down onto the sea of raging Bostonites.
The energy level was already high, and the crowd was most certainly amped, but still Luke pushed on with the bangers. He moved from “Turbulence” into his remix of “Body Crash“, mimicking the same combination from his Essential Mix. Then came “Dirty Talk” yet again.
Closing the evening on a high note, he finished with Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” and his bootleg of Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night“, leaving the crowd chanting “one more song.”
Overall, Luke did what he normally does — put on an excellent show, highlighting multiple musical genres all while keeping the entire audience begging for more. Boston certainly appreciated his performance, and the event nearly sold out on a Wednesday night mid-summer. If that’s not a testament to Luke’s musical talent, we don’t know what is.
Review: Chris Furnari