Australian electronic musician Kilter stopped by Three Links for his first ever Dallas show. As someone who attends mostly metal and punk shows, the general ways of the world of electronic shows are something I’m yet to really understand. I’m not one to deny the difficulty of this kind of production, having experience with DAWs and MIDI instruments myself, but the combination of the music itself and the stage presence that follows has never seemed too attractive to me. I went to this show wondering if my attitude would be changed.
JNTHN STEIN, from Brooklyn, opened the show. Someone was filming the set from a far corner, which led the crowd to form an awkward semicircle pretty far from the stage. In an effort to get the crowd hyped despite the distance, Stein was constantly moving. His head bobbed while he played his seven-string guitar, and while he wasn’t doing that, he was dancing around the stage or hitting buttons on his MIDI instruments with serious gusto. All the while he had a smile on his face. Honestly, this got kind of weird: after one bass drop, he grabbed a cup and ball toy from under the table and just… did that for a minute.
His music was pleasant but often felt borderline chaotic, with several layers happening that occasionally lacked some cohesion. The rest of the time, it got rather boring. The songs he performed that featured his guitar were the most interesting, though it would have been great to see him put the guitar to a more innovative use in his work. Some songs in his set felt more solid than others, but the inclusion of a remix of one of Kilter’s most popular songs seemed strange right before Kilter played. All in all, I was not won over by this set.
Kilter’s beats drew the crowd in closer to the stage. He kept busy throughout his set with intricate melodies and rhythms needing to be performed on his various MIDI instruments, which spread across two tables. His movements were fluid and natural, never feeling forced. The songs he played were well thought-out, memorable, and had the cohesion the opener lacked. Despite not being much of a fan of dance music, there was a clear aesthetic to his music that I could appreciate. As his set progressed, the crowd continued to grow with people singing and dancing. They looked unmistakably happy, and I can’t blame them. It would be hard to actively dislike Kilter’s music.
By the end of the show, I could better understand the appeal of seeing producers like this live. Dancing, drinks, and friends; for electronic music fans, it’s a pretty ideal way to wrap up your week. Watching a talented producer show off his mastery of a unsuspiciously complicated performance setup and seeing his fans soak it all in wasn’t bad at all. You probably won’t catch me at shows like this too often though. I just don’t like to dance that much.