This year for Halloween, the people at Re:Imagine decided to put on a stellar performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, with a few extra classics thrown in, at our regular haunt XOYO. The event was hailed as an audio visual experience, and boy did the band do MJ justice. The musicians and singers performed the entire Thriller album from start to finish - having never actually seen or heard Michael Jackson’s music performed live by the man himself, this was an incredible way to experience such a seminal album.
Singers Rachel Clark and Renato Paris did a grand job of emulating the King of Pop. Although their microphones were a little too low in the first half, it didn’t really matter as the band sounded amazing and everyone in the audience knows the words (thankfully the techies rectified this for issue the second half, including raising the sound for the keys as well). I truly believe that all music sounds better in a live environment, and hearing some of these classic songs with a horn section, cracking drummer, some tasty bass, and everything that goes with it was definitely a memorable experience.
This show certainly made me appreciate the lesser known tracks, more so than the classics, such as ‘Baby Be Mine’ and ‘The Lady in My Life’; you can appreciate a songs layers and isolated instrumentation with live music, which can get lost in an album version. I love the concept of audio visual, and feel that this is truly the future for music, however this was not quite a ‘visual experience’. Now don’t get me wrong, the team behind the visual projections created some great stuff for the performance, but a lot of it was on a loop or not designed to be in sync with the music. This approach to live performance is the way to go, but to say it was a ‘visual experience’...I would expect a little more creativity and correlation with the music, as it was slightly underwhelming.
However, utilising visuals on a gauze projection screen (with half of the band behind and half in front) really does add something to any gig. So I love that these techies are embracing the visual element, and hope they will continue to be involved in building visual creations for other XOYO shows, because performances are always much better with it. As per every single time we go, the lights at XOYO were awesome - lasers and beams at this venue are always a major part of the club’s experience (there’s some magnificently elegant use of disco ball’s here, so you can’t help but want one, in every room, everywhere...all of the time).
Some pleasant surprises were in the set’s final three tracks, with two of MJ’s greatest disco tracks from the Off The Wall album, played with all the flair of Quincy Jones’ magic touch - ‘Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough’ and ‘Rock With You’. The closing number was a great choice, but this rendition of ‘Smooth Criminal’ was far closer to Alien Ant Farm’s rockier version; whilst I nostalgically love that cover, it was a bit of a change in vibe from the previous disco-like atmosphere. Of course it was still mega fun, and I enjoyed the whole bloody thing - the folks at Re:Imagine always make excellent album choices.
I should give a special mention as well to the resident DJ, Joshua James, who played a phat (with a PH) set upstairs to follow; dropping some massive tunes - from classics like ‘We Got The Funk’ by Positive Force, to obscure songs such as Peter Brown’s ‘Dance Wiv Me’ and latin disco groove ‘Botoque’ by Fantronic & In Flagranti (you can Trouve those Grooves below).