AIR Concert Review by Diana Ciuca
What do an isosceles triangle, parallelogram, two vertical rectangles, a right triangle and a semi-circle add up to? The fantastically abstract name design (that would make your geometry teacher proud) of the French techno-pop band, AIR.
I hopped out of the car concerned that I was late. It was nine-ish. That, to me, meant that half the set was over and I would never be able to capture the full essence of AIR. I was wrong on two counts. Firstly, when I walked in the theater, people were still mingling as if the show were about to start much later. Next, in one song or two, I would be able to capture the full essence of AIR (whether that’s a good thing or not).
Similar to Ratatat and Animal Collective, AIR provides psychedelic visual effects to complement their technologically-infused melodies. Surprisingly, the venue matched this aesthetic quality of the show. This was a chill show. By no means did it require being smushed by crowd surfers or the sweaty guy next to you. Obviously the trend of more experimental technopop bands (Passion Pit, Arctic Monkeys, Band of Horses) migrating to the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami is a sign of the suitability of the venue. Yet, the venue can only go so far.
Unlike I expected, the music was not the most riveting portion of the show. Undoubtedly, the low bass reverberated through the crowd seats like a mild earthquake, but the rest of the tones were too light to be appreciated without any visual aids such as lighting effects. Nevertheless, the poetry of AIR’s works are not in their lyrics (for instance, LOVE: Love, love, love, love), but rather in their evocative combination of guitar textures with creeping sound effects. The have a quirk for artiness and abstraction, but that sometimes leads to an under-appreciated mystique. Their mixing pretentiousness should not be mistaken for a simplistic noise, yet instead should be characterized as a minimalistic harmony of keyboards and guitars.
The show was short. Too short. I was waiting for the intermission so I could quickly take a restroom break. But, all my waiting was in vain as the show ended around 10:37. Much too soon. Five minutes prior to the end I was futilely expecting a short break, but when my break finally arrived, I was disappointed. At least the duo finished with an energetic triple encore featuring their most popular song Sexy Boy. The audience members stood up, danced and jeered as energy pervade throughout the crowds and seeped into their skins.
If you desire quirky, upbeat music, look further. AIR is the definition of chill. Their laid back music borderlines boring, but can similarly spark a profound interest in the subtleties of harmony.