Mystery Skulls performing live Friday night at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles; the Warner Bros. Records’ electronic singer/DJ/producer sports catchy vocals. (Patrick Meissner/Living Out Loud LA)
“So, wait, they’re DJ’s but they both sing? And they’re both actually pretty good at it? Yeah, well, I’ll see it when I believe it.”
At least that was the thought when pulling up to the El Rey Theatre Friday night. One of LA’s classic, mainstay venues that typically holds host to rock and hip hop acts, was brimming over with brightly colored, attractive, faced painted, electro-fans that came out to do nothing more than dance.
On his final stop of a nationwide tour opening for Robert DeLong, Mystery Skulls killed it playing to the steadily growing crowd of a sold out show. Calm, cool, and collected, he smoothly transitioned from tables to microphone, and back to tables again, all the while keeping rhythm, maintaining his breath, and most importantly hitting all the right notes. Really, the guy has a great voice.
Mixing vocals into his upbeat house music, Mystery Skulls creates a more intimate performance than a traditional DJ typical would. The ability to be able to sing the crowd adds another level of performance to his show. Most DJs just play music and talk at you. Your eyes tend to wander. With Mystery Skulls, however, it’s much easier to follow along. He gives you a reason to keep your eyes fixed on the stage.
Mystery Skulls called this Los Angeles show “his best show so far.” All said and done, this guy has the potential for his shows to keep getting better. The music is a healthy blend between both classic and more progressive electro. He has a great command of the stage and a lot of talent to back it up. It will be interesting to see if we find his name on bigger billings in the months to come.
Of course the headliner of the night, Robert DeLong, was absolutely insane. His stage set up looks like a spaceship with a drum kit on the side. His computers are mounted on a drum rack next to microphones and electric drum pads. He uses a joystick to manipulate certain effects and looks like he’s fighting aliens when he does it. His acoustic drum set sits on the side of electronics rack, just waiting for him to sit down for the occasional solo. All of this is surrounded by his signature ‘orange x’ looking visuals. The whole thing is overwhelming, you can’t stop staring at it.
DeLong’s performance is a lot like Mystery Skulls in that he works in a lot of vocals with his electronica. Except DeLong takes it a step further with his elaborate set up and high-energy stage presence. He’s a decent drummer, and a big portion of his set contained percussion sections. In all honesty, his four-minute drum solo felt a bit gratuitous, even though the crowd seemed to really like it.
Long story short, the El Rey kind of kicked ass last night. Good people, good visuals, and a lot of damn good music. The drink prices were outrageous though. Really, $17 for double Jameson on the rocks? At the El Rey? You’ve got to be kidding me. Somebody’s really gotta do something about that.