Writer: Zachary Kolesar.
Attending two different concerts at A+R Music Bar this week was a weird, wild variety of live music. Wax Tailor, a French DJ who made his first appearance in Columbus on Friday, brought the funk, and there was plenty of space for people to get their groove on.
A groovy, trippy set featuring a rotating cast of guests made for the biggest dance party to be held at in the Promowest triangle Friday night.
A Championship Boxing completion was held at Express(?). The Gloriois Suns raged in The Basement below with Betsy Ross. But opening act Dirty Art Job and Wax Tailor turned A+R’s bar room into a dance floor, spread out yet still full of eager fans of all ages--even some old timers--to get down.
Getting to the venue 30 minutes after doors opened, it was very sparse. Near the front, I was still 10 feet away from the barricade with no one in front when Dirty Art Job nonchalantly walked onstage and started to trance the slowly-packing bar. His psychedelic, deep-cut samples played in the background, while he went in on rhythmic, biting hits and snares.
Dirty Art Club didn’t show much emotion on his face while performing except for a smile and humble, “Thank you,” when the crowd outwardly vibed with his tunes. A conversation with him after the show opened up another window into how genuine of a musician he is; a willingness to talk about his art.
When 9 p.m. rolled around, the blue and red strobe lights that illuminated Dirty Art Club’s set went dark. Wax Tailor, who arrived in our city Thursday, entered the stage to erratic flashing lights. He greeted the audience, which had a little less room now to swing and sway about, with a grinning, accented hello.
Wax Tailor’s opening cuts mostly consisted of slower, trancier recordings. That tone was set by France female singer Charlotte Savary, who shifted on and off the stage throughout the night, with an ethereal, deep, commanding voice. Wax Tailor was still shredding on the boards behind his supporting artists, but the featured musicians were able to switch up the moods at a whim Friday; from Savary’s swaying vocals to the amped up raps of Mattic.
Savary shined in deep red lights, slowly seducing the audience, but movers and shakers really got down when Mattic stepped up to the mic. Holding it facedown and spitting emphatic rhymes over funky, everchanging Wax Tailor samples and instrumentals, his commanding presence had many, including myself, jumping in rhythm. The emcee moved the crowd, bouncing around Phife Dawg raps to Wax Tailor cuts dating a few years back. His performances of get-downs “The Sound” and “Positively Inclined” had A+R attendees swaying.
When Savary would appear from the behind-stage darkness, Mattic’s intense blue and green visuals shifted calm red for the hypnotic “For The Worst.” She moved like an intense wind was slowing her down, matching the tempo Wax Tailor was setting on the boards behind her. A quarter of the time, Wax was shredding on the stage by himself. The spiraling visuals and in-your-face white strobes shed a light on how packed the venue had become and how eager to dance most people were.
After performing popular tracks amongst the crowd, songs with samples that everyone could cry out to like Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” sampled on Wax Taxilor’s “How I Feel,” French DJ left the stage around 10:30. Longtime fans knew this wasn’t it, as his ever-popular track “Que Sera” hadn’t been thrown down.
Wax Tailor then remerged from the completely dark stage that lit up as the DJ walked back on.
Then, for one of the few times Friday night, Wax Tailor spoke into the microphone, asking to hear more of the crowd’s beautiful voices as the original 1950s Doris Day version could be heard in the background. It was the high point of the night, a sense of togetherness that artists strive to bring out at their concerts but only a few can do in a successful and unforced manner.
There were a lot of forms of entertainment being produced in the Express Live triangle Friday night, but Wax Tailor’s chameleon-esque set made for a diverse and special night for many. Columbus will for certain be awaiting his return, even though the international artist might not be back for a while.