Michael Mayer / Make It New at Middlesex Lounge /May 27
Michael Mayer, lucent red from the table lamp in the booth, directed a theatric pose at one worshipful thirty-something in a small black fedora, who stood by scrutinizing the art of timing. The booth at Middlesex isn't blocked off or elevated. Anyone can walk back there and play the sidekick. The club itself is a small, mildly stylish box with a glass front that, thanks to nights like "Make It New," attracts area technophiles with a remarkable ability to party on weeknights, including the nearby MIT brainiacs. During Mayer's visit to the Cambridge venue - his first stop stateside before the Detroit Electronic Music Festival - the lounge's rolling furniture had to be shoved aside. At one point a twenty-something in a small black fedora plopped down on a bench, upon which was stacked a table, upsetting a drink which then toppled down his back. He cursed calmly, then hopped up and continued dancing within the small available radius.
The laptop had closed up shop. Though there was a transitional blip to Mayer's large metal crate of vinyl, thereafter came instantly gratifying, floorseeping lows that proved the potential of an improved Middlesex sound policy. Michael Mayer kept his three hours dynamic, manipulating the room with impeccable programming. The set was a sophisticated progression, evidence of this quotation from his Kompakt.fm bio: "It is all about entertaining people, but you must not under-challenge nor overstrain them...You are both, entertainer and educator." We heard dark, stomping phases and supremely ectstatic, bubbling melodic passages, and a casual divergence into disco. Mayer even sold the room on the gulping gallop and at times atonal piano of DJ Koze's mix of Wolfgang Voigt's "Geduld."
People bounced around recklessly, which was great to see. The words "take take take take my body" encapsulated the mood as the night came to a reluctant but satisfying close with Mayer's remix of Agoria's "The Sky Is Clear." When the lights came on the hardwood floor shone with drink. Outside, a stretch Escalade paused and passed, the full moon overhead. Many ignored the cue to leave. Birthday boy hiked up his Jamaican soccer jersey and worked an invisible partner; the woman in zebra print looked winded. When we were finally herded onto the street, it's safe to say no one walked away feeling gypped. Michael Mayer played perfectly to the Mass Ave crowd, in that he delivered the best version of himself and meant it.