Diplo at Great Scott, February 23, 2008
I’m white and from rural Connecticut, so I think Saturday night was the closest I’ve ever come to anything resembling a block party. Maybe it was because we all knew we were very lucky: the Diplo show had been sold out for weeks, and Great Scott was twice as packed as I’d ever seen it. Big Digits, a three-man DJ/dance/hip-hop group from Cambridge, got some people moving from the get-go, but the anticipation of the main act was palpable, especially since Diplo could be seen all night next to the stage. After an interlude from DJs Etan and Die Young of the increasingly popular local collective Basstown, DJ Sega took the stage with a remix of the Gorillaz’ “Feel Good Inc.,” and the energy built steadily. Sega, if his name doesn’t give it away, has a penchant for sampling from nerdy sources — cartoons, video games, Jeopardy!, alternative hip-hop, even “Smells like Teen Spirit.” My guess is he watches a lot of Adult Swim.
As we heard the clarion call of Van Halen’s “Eruption,” Sega motioned for everyone to join him on stage, and chaos ensued as people scrambled to oblige. A video projection draped everyone in neon blues and greens and yellows and then, as if this were a magician’s vanishing act, Sega disappeared and was replaced by Diplo. Things just heated up from there — maybe everyone was just wasted (it was well after midnight by that point), but people forgot who they came with and were talking and laughing and dancing as one big group. Diplo’s set was diverse but not too obscure: of note was 2 Live Crew’s “Face Down, Ass Up” over Fischerspooner’s “Emerge” and remixes of Dead Prez and Eurythmics. But Diplo must have been lonely on the road, because the artist he most frequently called on was ex-girlfriend M.I.A. No complaints from the crowd.
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