TVD Live: Glitch Mob, 7/20 at the 9:30 Club

All photos: Sarah Gormley

I wouldn’t be worried one bit if The Glitch Mob played on the last days of Earth. I mean that in the least dramatic sense because the trio – Ed Ma, Justin Boreta, and Joshua Mayer – could very well numb the pain with their bass-heavy, muscular symphonies.

Plus, they’d be the first to tell you, they “can make the world stop.”

With an affirmation like that, I’ll reinforce that Wednesday night at the 9:30 Club, The Glitch Mob brought the mid-Atlantic to a cusp. DC endured one of the hottest evenings of the year. But inside it was like sanctuary. We partied like sweaty dancers in a Mississippi juke joint.

They came on strong with a mix of some old and new tracks. After their intro, which was like foreplay, they brought us to new grounds with “Warrior Concerto” from their new EP. True to its name, the “concerto” was a clash of synths, electo-guitars and percussion. It was an early climax but they had more for us to keep up with.

The sex appeal of the Mob came through an ambient, quasi-downtempo number called “Palace of the Innocents.” The set featured a curvy aerial dancer who descended like an archangel. She wore a swaddling garment that extended upward as a harness. As the song played, the dancer swung mid-ceiling above our heads. “Innocents” is very symphonic piece, accented with electronic mandolin chords. She spun like a star. She was, indeed, one at that moment.

The deejays kicked it up again with some dubstep. The trio mixed in some shuffled, syncopated beats that fancied the feet. Peoples’ hands were sky high. The bass felt as if it produced gale of wind. The reverb was so powerful the fire alarm went off, briefly.

The beginning of the third act of the show brought it back to Southern California. The Mob sampled the hook from 2Pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love.” It was a very crowd-pleasing moment as they started a little G-Funk revival – glitchhop style.

The technical wizardry of The Glitch Mob’s stage included three sets of monstrous, U-shaped LED tines (each of which the guys stood center) and a multi-screen panel (behind them) with giant pixels thumping to the unstoppable baseline. Ed, Justin and Joshua are producers by trade but musicians at heart. And, they also add a wholesome dose of theater. Their choice of instrument is the Lemur, a multi-touch controller designed by JazzMutant. Imagine an iPad with extended MIDI capabilities. Like a synthesizer, the Lemur can emulate drums, keyboards and variety of stringed instruments.

At best, their electronic toys exercise productivity and flexibility. There’s no room for argument the men that make up The Glitch Mob aren’t musicians. They’re classically trained, in the garage rock sense. In their music you hear themes not unfamiliar to arena rock compositions. The “flashy tools” are part of the presentation. And it’s flashy tools that rock our world.


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