BY CHARISSA CHE
Ashe, a.k.a. Ashlyn Miller, is as lively and bubbly as you might expect from listening to her studio recordings. Her breathy cover of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” on the keyboard was an unexpected reprieve from an otherwise bouncy 80’s-era performance at the Complex on Tuesday, November 28. Deftly, she flung her long blonde locks to the audacious trumpet that laces much of her music, pausing occasionally to swear and giggle at her young audience. Ashe has a way of breathing new life into old sounds: this asset should serve her well, considering her debut LP is still to come, and today’s indie trend of hearkening the more shimmery and synthy times of old.
Second opener Louis Futon had a few things going for him: his sparse and sleek stage design (him at his turntable and laptop, below a white-hot neon logo of his moniker), a winning smile, and a few choice samplings. He conversely had notable things working against him. Namely, he brought the momentum down from Ashe a few good notches with a largely stationary presence and an overall monolithic set. Just a few tracks in, audience members were filtering out into the lobby to loiter until it was time for the headliner (Also, why wasn’t there a futon on stage? Come on).
All was well again when Louis the Child came out. As one who is still fairly new to electronic music and shows (in fact, it was about a year ago that I attended my first one), it still takes me some time to “get” what the experience entails. While their predecessors left much to be desired, Louis the Child was raw energy, euphoria, and electricity from the time they stepped on stage until the very end. There was not much to “get” as there was to simply experience, and therein lay the beauty of the young duo’s work. Their mixes sampled everything from Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E” to Kanye’s “Power.” Elohim collab “Feelin’ It” was a summery trip, sonically and visually; pinks and oranges flashed on the screen as the words, “Love is alive” pulsated in the foreground.
For “Phone Died,” the screen broke up into panels of flickering smartphones. Meanwhile, Blaise Railey’s disembodied rap echoed every youth’s #struggle: “I won’t be going home / ‘Til least six in the morn’ / I’m tryna charge my phone / Tell me, who got a plug for that?”
The visuals were slick, and some of the coolest I’ve witnessed in my show-going history. A set of parallel squiggly lines coalesced into jelly fish shapes before falling off the edge of the screen; black-and-white pixels shivered next to each other and cast a pale glow on the artists; the scene looked appropriately ablaze for “Fire.” It was a synesthetic buffet. And because the night would have been remiss without it, Ashe came back onstage at the end to perform their collaborative hit, “Right to It.”
To view more photos from the show, go here.