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Review: Eliot Lipp at The Mousetrap

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Eliot Lipp, Indianapolis

Eliott Lipp with Hollow Point, Shy Guy Says, Samples
Sept. 15, The Mousetrap
4 stars

Brooklyn-based EDM musician Eliot Lipp was the guest of honor for last night's biggest-ever edition of IndyMojo's Altered Thurzdaze, a year-plus-old weekly electronic night hosted by The Mousetrap. More than 400 fans congregated to experience Lipp's deep electronic groove, given more heft by a drummer, laser show and amped-up sound system. Lipp and the rest of the evening's lineup achieved the most important goal of electronic dance music: making people feel good.

Altered Thurzdaze resident Hollow Point kicked off the evening at 9 p.m. with a blend of drum and bass spanning from the narrowly named genre's old-school, sometimes monotonous days to its technologically interesting, dubstep-influenced contemporary sound.

Lasers and lights aided the evening's beats. - PHOTO BY MATT MARKET.

After a quiet setup in the quickly warming room, Bloomington producer Shy Guy Says - dressed in black layers of hoody, tie and suit jacket - turned away from the crowd, pulled his hood up and put his Shy Guy mask on. The Scream-like face could easily be dismissed as an attempt at Deadmau5-style anonymity and kitsch, but a few minutes into his set (and after throwing glowsticks and Shy Guy bombs to the eager crowd), Shy Guy's knowledge of - and respect for - the world of electronic-based music became evident.

Shy Guy hit heavily upon everything from 8-bit tunes befitting his Super Mario Bros.-based mask, to truly evil-sounding dubstep, to an electronic I Dream of Jeannie theme song remix, to Mad Lib-esque off-kilter hip hop and Prefuse 73-style glitch. Shy Guy puts work into his production and his performance: Bouncing around behind his small rig, he had to turn from the crowd at one point, bend over and dump the sweat out of his mask.

Shy Guy's bass-intensive range of sounds provided a nice intro to Eliot Lipp, who, with the help of Prefuse 73, made a national name for himself in the early '00s. Following his run of playing three major festivals this summer, a gig at the relatively small Mousetrap was an opportunity for Lipp to get intimate with the audience, something he already does a little too well on his albums, whose tracks can sound like they're made for '80s aerobics videos or late-night Cinemax skin flicks.

Live drumming complemented Lipp's computer-based sound. - PHOTO BY MATT MARKET.

Thankfully, Lipp left his laid-back self at home. Like Shy Guy Says, Lipp produces a range of music rooted in early sounding electronics and makes it danceable in a live setting. Standing behind his laptop and gear and next to a live drummer, Lipp led the tightly packed audience through tunes given more depth than they typically have on his albums. On record, a Lipp album can feel like an easy-listening EDM experience (especially compared to the flourish of blow-your-headphones dubstep releases in the past few years); but live, he and his drummer brought a heavy dose of aggression to his often laid-back tracks, aided substantially by Indy Sound and Stage's soundsystem, Herm Productions' live lights and IndyMojo's lasers (which can be experienced at Saturday's Oranje.)

An interesting thing about EDM is that you often can't tell what's what: On recorded tracks, samples can merge seamlessly with original elements, and live, the musicians could easily be standing behind their laptops, just pressing "play." But part of the glory of EDM is that it simply doesn't matter: Parties like this edition of Altered Thurzdaze are reason enough to gather with like-minded people out for a good time.

I had to leave before Colorado's Samples brought his mix of dubstep and broken-beat productions to the sound system, but I left happy for receiving such a value at the night's show - and relieved that I was able to get out of the sardine-can parking situation. If it continues to bring in regional and national talent, Altered Thurzdaze will remain a can't-miss night in Indy for dark-edged-EDM fans - and will prove that $5 digital funk is part of the glory of living in Indiana.

Clip from Eliot Lipp's performance:

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