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Chocolate Chunks and Velcro'd Condoms: TASTE Choco-Electro @ the [SAT], May 2

Posted by Sisi / May 3, 2008

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It's midnight. A condom balloon just bopped me on the head; my friend Maija bats it back into the crowd. The bassist is hammering away in a wedding dress, opera mask, and brown afro wig. His 3 bandmates are wearing matching masks and wigs, but are wearing campy glitter dresses instead. The 2 guys in front of us are going nuts, a pair of black-tee'd devotees throwing up funny hand gestures in line with the beat. All around us people are going bonkers, and the Nightlife photographer can barely keep up.

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That was aRTIST oF tHE yEAR (pictured above at another show), and they were the revelation of the night. Blessed with great stage presence, the boys play a unique brand of funk-inspired live electro they dub "Cut Disco." Although their name is a bitch to type and reminiscent of teenage girls wRiTiNg lIkE tHiS on their Xangas, I forgive them. Because they melted my face like a gooey Hershey Kiss.

It was packed, packed, packed at the Société des arts technologiques last night for the fourth installment of TASTE Productions' Choco-Electro night. The crowd was eclectic, the production lavish, and the music diverse. Despite the event being billed as an electronic dance party, 5 out of 6 artists played live sets.

The line-up this year was headlined by Beast and aRTIST oF tHE yEAR. Also on the bill were Stern*, Gloomy, Orange Orange, and Jarco Weiss. All of the acts - except French-born, Shanghai-based Jarco Weiss (pictured above right) - call Montreal home.

The hypemachine was working overtime for trip-hop/experimental duo Beast. Brand spanking new, the band went public in April and is made up of Béatrice Bonifassi, the singer of the Triplets of Belleville, and Jean-Phi Goncalves, the drummer of Afrodizz and Plaster. That having been said, I only arrived in the last minutes of their set and didn't get a good impression of their music besides some very robust female vocals.

Despite the chocolate/electro concept, the brown stuff was scarce. Although there were complimentary taster tables scattered here and there, demand simply couldn't keep up with supply. Every time the chocolate was replenished, people would just snap it up. As for the advertised vibrating beds, either they were very small vibrating beds or I lost interest in finding them at some point - either way, I didn't try them out. (Although 2 boards velcro'd with a mosaic of Lifestyles condoms by the main floor washroom might've served as an incentive to all the lovebirds.)

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I chatted with coordinator Tao Fei about planning for Choco-Electro. "Choco-Electro started out as a platform for [founder Julien Stern's] band," she said. "Now, the event has become an alternative to bigger festivals like Piknic Electronik and Mutek." (Stern played last night both as Stern* and in Gloomy; I caught a good part of the former but failed to see the latter. Also M.I.A. was Orange Orange, who probably played their set before I got there.)

"We started planning hardcore maybe 2 months ago," Fei continued. "From the beginning we wanted to include local musicians and to stay true to our roots, although we're looking into the possibility of including more international acts like Jarco."

And who should materialize out the blue but Mr. Weiss himself, decked out in a leather jacket and smoking some wacky tobacky with a Gallic friend. Awesome.

Photo of Gloomy courtesy of Alexandre Bédard.

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