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In concert: Michael Mayer at the U Street Music Hall

Was it German techno master Michael Mayer or the U Street Music Hall PA system that split eardrums Tuesday night? (Photo courtesy of the artist)

By Ally Schweitzer

It’s 1:30 a.m. on a Wednesday in Washington, D.C. For most inhabitants of our respectable 9-5 city, that doesn’t exactly scream “party o’clock.”

But if you’re Germany’s famed techno producer Michael Mayer, 1:30 a.m. is a warm-up.

A masterful remixer, DJ, and co-owner of the influential Kompakt record label, Mayer trips across the world igniting outdoor festivals and warehouse parties with his signature style of techno, a stew of throbbing 4/4 rhythm and fuzzy melodic currents. He is currently touring to promote “Immer 3,” the third installment in his excellent remix series. For people who like to dance, Mayer’s appearance at the U Street Music Hall — his first ever D.C. performance — was a fun night out. For devoted lovers of German electronic music, it was a very, very big deal.

But newbies and diehards alike would probably agree that Mayer delivered on all fronts, even if a few people had to get hurt in the process. The second he laid down his first record around midnight, the sound mix plummeted to the colon-paralyzing depths for which regulars at U Hall have built up an inhuman tolerance. Mayer calmly surveyed audience reaction, wearing a Mona Lisa smile that belied the wickedness of a man who would spend the next two hours pummeling every last eardrum.

Bedtime music this was not. Mayer earned his pedigree as a producer’s producer, a sensitive re-interpreter of other people’s work. But it’s his sense of timing — his ability to gracefully build the night up to a powerful crescendo — that makes him a DJ’s DJ. Case in point: what’s almost as rare as a Michael Mayer appearance in North America? The sight of a club’s owner rocking out on his own dance floor. DJ Jesse Tittsworth, co-owner of the venue on U St. NW, sidled up to the floor just as Mayer was hitting his stride and threw his arms into the air alongside the blissful clientele.

So what were you doing at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning?

By Ally Schweitzer  |  May 26, 2010; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Michael Mayer  
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Great review Ally! Hopefully the Post will cover more of the great electronic music acts that having been coming through DC over the past year. Cheers!

Posted by: davidfogel | May 27, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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