February 7, 2019 at Brighton Music Hall
There was a curious long queue outside Brighton Music Hall on February 7th. David August, the electronic music producer and composer from Hamburg, had managed to sell out the venue for the first gig of his North American tour. The impatient enthusiasm inside all of us waiting in line started to mutate into slight anxiety when a spacey, almost cinematic combination of sounds started bursting through the open door. It was the intro to ‘Narciso,’ the first track of his latest album D’Angelo. David August had just started, and the bouncers were trying to jam everyone in.
The place was comfortably packed with an atmosphere of rapture. The vintage light bulbs that provided the lighting were at their lowest intensity, strengthening this feeling and making you focus to the front of the venue. Just a few feet off the floor stood a stoic David August, surrounded by his elaborate machinery and hazy light beams, immersed in his own world.
After setting the mood with the first and second track, it was easy to notice that people were there to have a good time. Everyone cheered with a smile on their faces waiting for the next one to start, but the musician was taking his time. With delicate yet trippy synth sounds floating in the background, he started doing an abstract solo on what sounded like a harpsichord which highlighted how much of a musical genius he is. Everything that was happening in between songs was a combination of classical music and modern electronica, which portrayed his outstanding knowledge in music production. This was actually something unexpected and totally new; he has always been known for his never-ending live sets where songs melt with each other through beats. The German musician was actually giving each song its own special moment, but the long and dreamy transitions didn’t have the effect he was probably expecting. The night turned into a social gathering, where you could hear most of the people in the crowd chatting, while David August played his heart out on stage.
There were two special moments though, where he did take control of the night. The first one was when he played ‘33Chants,’ one of the best and most upbeat songs in the album. He took over the microphone while playing two synths at the same time and laid out an impressive amount of energy. This was definitely the highlight of the night. Up to the end, he took a guitar out of nowhere and started ‘True Heart,’ which brought back the same remarkable atmosphere from the beginning of the night.
It is important to point out that the structure of the sound system in Brighton Music Hall did not help. For live electronic concerts, it is essential to have a system that encloses the space, not just speakers in the front. On another note, it was great to know that so many people were there to witness a live act that is still on the realms of underground electronic music. If this review made you curious of the music of David August, do check out his latest album D’Angelo which was released in October of 2018.