0 5 min 8 yrs

The Bag Raiders with opening act Plastic Plates assembled U Street Music Hall for a live dance party! The Aussie duo is fresh off the kick-start of their 2016 Spring tour and the release of two vinyl EP’s Waterfalls and Friend Inside. Tonight they took the stage not as a DJ set but as a live alternative band with Plastic Plates percussionist Felix Bloxsom on drums.

Opening act Plastic Plates was a legit find. Plastic Plates is a one-man show featuring Felix Bloxsom a DJ/producer/drummer. He has performed live and recorded with an array of prominent music acts including Empire Of The Sun, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Jennifer Lopez. He’s a jazz percussionist who DJ’s and plays a pair of timbales.

When I heard the timbales I immediately thought of the legendary Latin jazz musician Tito Puente. The combination of a mixer with timbales gives the rhythm more pop. It’s a great idea! Other than maybe the congas there isn’t a percussion instrument more synonymous with dancing than the timbales. To combine it with electronic dance music only seems natural. I really enjoyed the mix he performed of Van She’s “Jamaica.” The tropical percussion fit well with the Caribbean aesthetic.

Bag Raiders front man Jack Glass during the performance stated as much as he likes DJing, he likes performing live even more. It makes sense since Jack Glass and Chris Stracy are both classically trained musicians. Chris Stracy studied guitar and violin. Jack Glass studied piano and cello. It’s becoming common you find electronic DJ’s/musicians who are classically trained. A few that come to mind are Sir Bob Cornelius Rufio of The Bloody Beetroots. Mason Bates the electronic dance DJ/composer who expanded his works to include a full orchestra.

He’s actually performing with The National Symphony Orchestra April 15th, 2016 at The Kennedy Center here in D.C. Then there’s the electronic dance composer Tiesto who has a song “Adagio for Strings.” It’s a transcription of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” A piece most people recognized from the dramatic scene in the movie Platoon. He performs that piece with a live violinist.  To be a great musician of any genre it’s beneficial to have classical training. You have to know the rules to break the rules.

The Bag Raiders live started with their new release “Waterfalls.” It’s a serene song. The lyrics imply an escape to paradise “jumping off waterfalls.”  Chris Stracy’s vocal qualities were comfortable to listen to. The music has an upbeat tempo and the vocals made you feel relaxed. Their performance of “Friend Inside” was very amiable, especially during the chorus. It’s fun when you have a song that everybody can participate in. It makes the performance feel better. They also played Bag Raider classics like “So Demanding,” and “Not Over.” I really enjoyed “Snake Charmer.” Jack Glass plays this infectious synth melody that’s really fun to listen to. It sounds like a flute charming a snake out of a basket.

Chris switches between playing electric guitar and an electronic drum pads as he sings. Jack switched between live percussion, synthesizers, and backing vocals. Felix Bloxsom joined them to play drums. When Chris and Jack sang together it created a biphonic effect. Two distinct pitches that produce a vortex of harmony. I was surprised with Chris’s vocal range. He performed “Way Back Home” which has a mezzo-soprano vocal quality, almost baritone. Then he later performed “Sunlight” which has a falsetto vocal quality. I know vocalist Dan Black performed the vocals on the original recording of “Sunlight”. Chris had the ability to mimic his vocal style to the point the song was as recognizable as the recording. It sounded great! I enjoyed the songs as much as I did when I first heard them.

For an encore, they just decided to leave it all on stage rather than exit and come back. They performed “Fun Punch” which is a nifty instrumental that really got the crowd energized. They closed with “Shooting Stars.” It was magnificent! It gave you the feeling you were a shooting star. A burst of positive energy and love. This was a fantastic performance! Hearing the Bag Raiders live gave the music a sound quality that can only be felt in person. They have a fun set-up and express a lot of enjoyment on stage. That feeling creates an atmosphere where everybody is having a really great time.

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