Noize Thumps Fox Theater

Luther Kuefner, Staff Writer

German electronic music producer Boys Noize, born Alex Ridha, performed at the Fox Theater in Oakland on December 14, as part of a tour to promote his new album, Out of the Black. With support from Boys Noize Records signee Strip Steve and New York rapper Le1f, the show proved to be more interactive and original than an average DJ set.

In a recent interview, Ridha claimed that for this tour, he would solely be playing his own music, a new step for him. The set was littered with a wide spectrum from the Boys Noize catalogue, beginning with the 2nd single from Out of the Black, “What You Want.”

At times, the set seemed to suffer from an adherence to older tech house-influenced songs like “Starter” and “Frau,” but Ridha kept things moving with thumping anthems such as “Lava Lava” and “Jeffer.” The bass was stronger than other DJ’s who have played the Fox, which kept the packed floor dancing.

It was one of the best electronic show I’ve attended.

The tour is also accompanied by a new set designed by Ridha and his crew, in which he performs out of a large skull modeled after the cover of his 2007 debut album, Oi Oi Oi. Ridha seems to be following a string of popular electronic dance music artists who use props, often extravagant, to enhance their live show. Swedish house producer Avicii plays out of a giant head, while inept dubstep artist Skrillex performs out of a transforming spaceship.

While the floor seemed to be sold out, the upper deck was practically empty. This is a manifestation of the unfortunate paradox of mass culture: while popular artists like Avicii can easily sell out a large auditorium like San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic, the giants on whose shoulders they stand, such as Boys Noize, draw considerably smaller crowds.

Perhaps, one day, such underrated yet crucial artists like Boys Noize and A-Trak will be recognized in the global music market they have brought so much to.