Benny Benassi and Congorock @ Marquee Theatre|10/25/12
Last night was a late night -- things didn't kick off until 11 p.m., with Italian-born Congorock starting things off, and progressive house master Benny Benassi not taking the stage until well after midnight. Maybe it was the late hour, but despite a solid set, something about the night seemed off.
Things weren't all a let down, though. Italian-born Congorock (real name Rocco Rampino) took to the stage, and everything just took off. His LED lights were so bright. I've been to my share of EDM shows and festivals, and I can assure you never have experienced such bright lights. To make matters worse, I recently suffered a concussion.
I played it safe, attending with a group of friends who were looking out for me, but I wondered if I imagined the lights being extra bright. No, it wasn't my brain messing with me; those lights were eyeball piercing.
Congorock made sure to drop his classic and EDM anthem, "Ivory," along with dropping some Adele and even Kayne West's, "Mercy" [produced by local producer Lifted]. Congorock was in full-on hype mode, getting the crowd excited for Benassi's set. Congorock was done at midnight and proved himself to Tempe. He could have kept going on and on with that set. It was a dancing sensation.
I focused on the crowd during the downtime between sets, and for the most part, everyone seemed fucked out of their minds. Looks like people were taking the opportunity afforded by the late start to party. Finally, Double B's popped onto the screen. One clearly for Benny and the other Benassi. After an odd and abrupt chant huffing, "ASU," repeatedly, the music took to its course.
Time to play.
Benny got on stage with minimal emotions and took to the soundboards. The hood of his jacket was over his head and yet the music was a glorious blast off of progressive house, techno and dance to my ears. Right when you thought the melodic softly balanced music was about to take control...bam .Smoke guns and confetti shot off.
I kept saying to myself, "Alright, can't wait until Benny takes that hood off; it will be game time." But Benny seemed off.
However, me having seen Benny once before for New Years Eve at Lights All Night 2011, I can state that I've seen the man himself beyond energetic, creating a state of perpetual happiness. But the crowd connection just didn't seem to be there last night.
Of course, classic tracks like "Cinema", "Beautiful People," and "House Music" sounded great, setting the crowd off into a progressive house whirl wind. Of course the crowd reacted more so due to the more obvious and well-known tracks, but there was just something else missing.
The music remained amazing; however the live performance of Benny didn't have much of the vibe as what I and others within the crowd had expected.
A live performance tells all. If the artist, singer, DJ, drummer, or whatever, doesn't seem invested and look like they aren't having a great time performing, the show won't reach its full potential. An artist loving what they do and passionately showing it is what creates a crowd connection. Last night it didn't seem that Benny was interested in much of a connection with Tempe.
Personal Bias: Never have expectations in life or at least in music, because Congorock's performance bulldozed Benny's.
The Crowd: True music lovers mixed with your typical bros and girls that decided they wanted to wear bunny ears for the night.
Overheard in the Crowd: "You are a cinnabon."
Random Notebook Dump: Benny gave new meaning to Manfred Mann's "Blinded by the Light."
Another Random Notebook Dump: A couple of my friends thought the heard Benny give a shout out to Tampa instead of Tempe. Let's just hope that was false.
Tips from Tay: Yes, wearing your underwear to a show may be cool and attractive, but be prepared before you go out next time. Check the weather. It was a little chilly outside.