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Friday, November 19, 2010

Concert Review: DJ Shadow at House of Blues

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM

A shadowy figure.
  • A shadowy figure.

From a conspicuous white sphere center-stage at House of Blues last night, DJ Shadow unleashed a visual and aural spectacle that assaulted the eyes as much as Shadow's twisted remixes assaulted the ears.

The Live From the Shadowsphere tour is a trial, Shadow said, allowing him to test out new material, toy with the old, and experiment with a distinct visual concept. He played from inside a large, orb as images of the galaxy, pop stars’ exploding heads, techie gadgets, and other images were broadcast onto it and the large flat screen behind it.

At times, these images on the sphere played out no different than if they were on a flat screen. It was better when the orb’s shape was reinforced — like when it became a bowling ball rolling down a lane, the Death Star, and a snow globe.

At the same time Shadow spun tunes that spanned his body of work — from 1996’s Entroducing . . . up to the new one coming out sometime next year. He twisted and remixed his existing, largely hip-hop-influenced tunes with samples pulled from multiple genres across decades of music, representing his hugely eclectic tastes and showcasing his ability to turn forgotten snippets into fresh songs.

He debuted “I Gotta Rock,” a squared-off, marching funk, and the crunk-influenced “Def Surrounds Us.” For these tunes, Shadow spun the sphere around so he could be seen through a cut-out while watching the audience react to the new material.

Shadow tore it up for his encore with a hyper version of “Six Days” that featured the familiar lyric samples over up-tempo jungle beats, which, like the entire performance, kept bodies moving. —Adam Burroughs

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