First of all, a show where two DJ’s can work together seamlessly and in perfect harmony is not one to be missed, whether it’s local DJ’s or megastars like A&B. Beatmatching, key matching, syncing, mixing, fading, etc is hard enough when you’re doing it solo, but to add another person into the mix, literally, is quite a feat. I had never seen it done successfully in a live setting, but Paavo and Jono more than pulled it off, they excelled.
The Showbox Market was the perfect, intimate setting for these guys. According to their Twitter, it’s one of their favorite venues to play. They made it feel personal, like the only place in the world where they wanted to be at that moment was with us in Seattle. Every DJ has access to a keyboard that will display messages behind them on the big screen. Most the big names never use it. Armin, Tiesto, Markus, Guetta. Never use the keyboard to communicate with their fans. When they weren’t busy passing the headphones back and forth readying the next song, Paavo and Jono were bust typing away messages like: “We haven’t named this song yet” or “Close your eyes at the end of this buildup”. When playing recently re-formed Gabriel and Dresden’s hit “Promises (All of Me)”, Paavo wrote: “Maybe they did some…Group Therapy”, a comical reference to the title of A&B’s upcoming artist album “Group Therapy” (available June 6th, 2011).
They played most of their recent hits, all of which are truly amazing and worthy of repeated plays. “Thing Called Love” was a big crowd pleaser, as was “Sun And Moon”, where Jono put the song on pause for a good 30 seconds right before the drop. The screaming in that small venue was deafening!
Finally, after closing the night out, Paavo and Jono came on for an encore, one last song before the club shut down at 2 a.m. They shook the fans hands, walked around on stage and signed autographs. It was a special end to an amazing show.
So what did I come away with after their most recent performance? Above and Beyond have come through as the leader of the Trance community in 2011. It’s been a year where, thus far, the big names have let us down. Tiesto has long departed from anything resembling his old style, Armin’s recent releases have been disappointing. But Above and Beyond have finally pushed their way through that crust of the upper-echelon of the Trance community. To me, they are worthy of this year’s DJMag #1 DJ(s) Award.