To fans of independent music, Calvin Johnson’s name carries the weight of a legacy. He’s the founder of K Records, has worked with such artists as Beck, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Kimya Dawson, The Microphones, and was the front-man of the seminal 90’s twee-pop act Beat Happening. In 2015, Johnson set his own musical sights on dance music, and Selector Dub Narcotic was born.
On March 10th, Selector Dub Narcotic came to the Pilot Light in Knoxville, TN and brought with it what may have been one of the more remarkable live shows I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Johnson stood on a nearly-bare stage, beside him a laptop and a MIDI keyboard. With the press of a single button, the sweet sounds of Selector Dub Narcotic blasted through the house system, and Calvin, clad in a pink button down and slacks, launched into a solitary dance on stage.
The form of the set begged comparison to karaoke, but done with such confidence that by the end of the 3rd or 4th song, the audience was dancing right along with Johnson. The off-kilter yet undeniably dance-able instrumentals from Selector’s last release, This Party is Just Getting Started, boomed out of the system as Johnson’s trademark baritone voice delivered the hook-laden lyrics.
Toward the end of the set, Calvin got off of the stage and joined the dance-floor, pulling people aside to show their best moves. He circled the crowd of concert-goers and for the next 10-15 minutes after that, the concert essentially turned into a dance party while Calvin worked the merchandise stand, selling cassettes to exhausted audience-goers.
While I’m definitely a fan of elaborate stage-shows given the right circumstances, I really enjoyed the higher degree of artist/audience interaction that the more minimal setup was able to facilitate. If you have the chance, you should absolutely catch Selector Dub Narcotic.
The remaining tour dates are below and you can hear more Selector Dub Narcotic here.
|Mar 22||40 Watt Club||Athens, GA||Tickets & More|
|Mar 25||The Cave||Chapel Hill, NC||Tickets & More|
|Mar 26||The Pinhook||Durham, NC||Tickets & More|
|Apr 02||Babycastles Gallery||New York, NY||Tickets & More|
|Apr 03||Alphaville||Brooklyn, NY||Tickets & More|