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Friday, April 8, 2011

Wolfgang Gartner Plays Beethoven for the Spring Breakers at Ruby Skye

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 8:23 AM

click to enlarge Let's play Tetris.
  • Let's play Tetris.

Wolfgang Gartner 

April 7, 2011 
@ Ruby Skye


Better than: Sitting through an interpretive dance ceremony.

How many elbows to the head would you take to catch your favorite artist? If your answer is fewer than ten, then you might not have made it to see electro-house headliner Wolfgang Gartner last night at Ruby Skye. Despite the high-class atmosphere, opera-house ceilings, and tuxedo-clad staff, the crowd was a mixture of "Oh hey, I'm on Spring break!" and "I basically come here to troll on people with hips."

After standing in a line full of shivering girls and collared shirt-clad men, we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the sounds of house DJ Harvard Bass. While he wasn't on the bill initially, he played to the crowd quite pleasantly, integrating tech house with electro house, and occasionally dropping a progressive or acid house track. While he didn't interact with the crowd much, he still played the role of an opening DJ, dropping a variety of beats to warm up the crowd for headliner Wolfgang Gartner.

click to enlarge Pleasant Surprises.
  • Pleasant Surprises.
Unlike most DJ performances, there was a 10-minute delay between acts while the stage-hands transferred equipment from the opener's lowly platform to the LED explosion that surrounded Wolfgang Gartner as he entered the stage. The front of the crowd was mainly composed of skinny boys attempting to throw themselves over the rail, or people trying to start some-sort of wannabe moshpit, while throwing up Westside signs (careful how you throw those "W"s, kids.) Once onstage past midnight, Gartner immediately captured the crowd's affection by playing fan favorites such as "Space Junk" and "Animal Rights."

Counting on the crowd's ignorance about classical music, the apparently aptly named Wolfgang spiked the show with chords from Beethoven's 5th Symphony, which sent his fans into a frenzy. Makeshift pianos were appearing out of nowhere in the music, and suddenly everyone in the crowd was waving their hands like they knew how to conduct a symphony. Playing sped-up tracks of everything from The Tings Tings "Hands" to Deadmau5, it seemed like every track he dropped ellicted sounds of "ohhhh" or the frantic gyration of hips.

If we were on Spring Break, it would surely have been a night to remember. But despite getting trampled on, and the long wait, we must admit that Wolfgang did put on a great show that played to the crowd. He let his audience know that he has potential for more than just making remixes and EPs. Leaving with ears ringing, we'll look forward to what he makes this year, and whatever puzzle-piece stage contraption he decides to make next.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Let's settle the difference between a long T-shirt and a dress.

Drinks spilled on this writer's shirt: Five. Number of girls attempting to start a fight after hearing complaints about drinks spilled on this writer's shirt: Five.

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