Concert Review

A-Trak and the 10,000 lb. Hamburger Tour Blows 'Em Away at Club Red

Perspiration was the cologne of choice at last night's A-Trak show at Tempe's Club Red, as the sweltering 100-degree-plus temps inside the nightspot caused many a scenester to baste in their own sweat. Then again, it might've also been the white-hot beats that the A-List turntablist and remix king was blasting out from the 15,000-megawatt sound system.

Despite the fact it was a weekday evening, the gig had a fearsome turnout of upwards of 150-200 cats crowding the club for A-Trak's set (which shouldn't come as shocker, considering the Canadian-born DJ/producer's exploding popularity in the electro-hop/disco-punk scene). The dance floor was an utter mob of moving bodies, lit by the multicolored glow of A-Trak's $25,000 lighting rig and thrashing about to the electro sounds he was unleashing from his laptop and turntable set-up.

His set started off with a cacophonous hip-hop beats and samples blaring out the warning "The sounds you're about to hear will be devastating to your ears." He then began whipping his audience into a frenzy by pounding out a steady stream of thundering beats on his MPC 500 portable sampler and then showed off some fierce scratching skills. Serving up a few tracks from his most recent albums (Infinity +1 and Fabriclive45), the 27-year-old remix wizard seemingly had everyone in the palm of his hand from the moment he stepped on stage.

That included numerous members of the Party Foul! crew were present to pay their respects and rock out, including Craig Citizen, Kevin the Makeout Bandit, and Bigie. (I also spotted Carnegie of Silver Medallion, as well as DJ JohnnY Rogers from AZ 88/Hanny's.) Also in attendance was Benjamin Cutswell, of Pinky Ring fame, who was equally in awe.

"A-Trak has developed himself into being a tremendous showman," Cutswell says. "He's not so much a DJ as he is a show at this point. It's not like he's going to turn up and just play from 10 to 2, he's gonna go out and do a performance. He's more of an entity than anything, running a huge record label [Fools Gold] and managing to rule the electro scene that's exploding right now."

A-Trak has quite the stunning resume and pedigree. Not only is he the brother of Chromeo's David Macklovitch (a.k.a. Dave 1), he also won the DMC World Championship and a slew of other turntablism titles in his teens and served as Kanye's tour DJ over the past few years.

A-Trak wasn't the only one impressing the peeps, as Brooklyn microphone maestro Theophilus London also put on a phat performance that got a huge response. The burgeoning rapper/lyrical demon was something of a late addition to the tour (as Baltimore hip-hop artist and MIA protégé Rye Rye dropped out of the tour last week after becoming pregnant). Theophilus was backed up during his set by L.A.'s Treasure Fingers, who proved quite capable on the ones and twos, as did locals D-JR and Fashen.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: 10,000 lb. Hamburger Tour featuring A-Trak at Club Red.

Better Than: Gasping for air amidst overheated bodies during an electro dance night at Homme Lounge.

Personal Bias: I ordered my A-Trak vinyl figure from Kidrobot last week.

Random Fact: The grits-slingers over at the adjacent Waffle House that shares Club Red's plaza are apparently pretty strict when it comes to people bogarting their parking spaces. So much so that there are numerous signs through out the club warning patrons that they risk getting their ride towed away if they dare stash it outside the buttercake emporium. It led to an amusing situation where numerous clubgoers would see the sign and then scamper outside to move their cars.

Further Listening: Infinity +1.

By the Way: Speaking of Waffle House, A-Trak and his crew headed over to the joint after the show to get their grub on. No word on whether they like their hashbrowns scattered, smothered, or covered.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.