ARO.Space, Seattle - Sunday, March 29, 1998

It's not the first time that a reputation for being able to work magic with audio has preceded an appearance by artists who have spent most of their careers to date locked up in a studio somewhere, and it's certainly not the last. But within the first few seconds of the Propellerheads taking to the stage at the newly opened Aro Space club in Seattle the audience was moving.

After seeing more than my fair share of DJ duo's recently I was surprised to see one half of this one leave his deck about fifteen minutes into the show and get behind a Jazz kit. The resulting injection of percussive energy was immediate as Will White played with a precision that gave the already prominent Hip-Hop elements of the groove an extra boost.

Further into the set Alex Gifford followed suit, this time leaving his keyboard/deck department and hanging a bass guitar around his neck. While playing it he seemed to peer into the audience as if to gauge audience reaction to this highly unusual choice of instruments, one which is often replaced by the familiar quantized thump of a sound module of one form or another.

This switching from one instrument to another approach really helped build a link between the audience and the artists. Although not absolutely neccessary it helps prove that not everything you're hearing is the result of an ADAT somewhere, and besides it really allows the audience to get involved in the action. If the house is giving good energy the performers have a way of giving it back.