Michal Menert stepped up to the helm of a retro-futurist mountain command station and held it down solo for an hour through all-original music from his catalog. And at a point when the packed house was near surrender, he brought live drummer A.C. Lao on stage to premiere songs from his new album Even If It Isn’t Right. Truthfully, we were ready to call it a night at about 1:30, but the songs kept getting better until we found a second and third wind.
Even though Menert’s set was an opening ceremony for April Fool’s Day, he chose to deliver one of the most emotionally raw performances this side of a laptop. Maybe it was just the Stoli talking. There were times, after all, that he was one stumble away from going head-first through his lighting rig.
It isn’t easy to drink a half bottle of vodka, bang your head for two straight hours, and then walk ANYWHERE in a straight line.
But when Menert continuously thanked the crowd for their support, personable in a way that [made you realize your own support in a self-analytic way], you wouldn’t dare to not believe him. It’s easy for a DJ to tell a packed venue he loves them, but after a nearly three-hour set of new music and real talk, this seemed to be a man you could believe.
Menert is consistently one of the most photogenic artists we’ve ever shot, The lazers and light pyramids provided intensely cool photographic lighting as the man unleashed the beast and mopped the stage with his thrashing, sweat-soaked mane.
And with Planet Asia and TriState joining Menert onstage to share in the love-fest late in the night, it really felt as if boundaries between the stage and the crowd had disappeared as effortlessly as a hug between new drinking buddies. Menert’s talent is absolutely clear. And say what you will about his role in producing Pretty Lights’s debut Taking Up Your Precious Time, Derek Smith likely took a cue from Michal in the dance move department — who deserves original credit for the trademark PLM dance move, the T-rex sway?
If you are at all a fan of Pretty Lights and have never made the effort to catch Michal, you are sorely missing out — end of story.