There’s a unique set of feelings you get when you’re finally sitting down to watch a unicorn act, especially when they’re a smaller up & coming group/individual that doesn’t necessarily book the largest appearances and gigs. You recall:
- That initial excitement after stumbling across their music and loudly proclaiming: I WOULD GIVE MY LEFT NUT TO SEE THESE GUYS LIVE. (Always j/k on this one)
- The hyped-up energy from seeing their name on the bill of an upcoming festival with the subsequent incredulous feeling of finding out their set time is 5pm on a Friday. In San Bernadino. -_-
- The stress of fighting through rave traffic to get your ass to the NOS Center/Las Vegas Speedway and the anxiety from being still en-route when they’re about to go on. Set time hits, and you still need to get through the cattle car lines at the entrance. “FUCK IT, I’ll just watch them next time,” you utter in an exasperated breath.
This pattern repeated a couple of times over the course of this past year, from the moment I stumbled across The M Machine’s Metropolis EP Teaser (below) until I mentally gave up on the happiness I was seeking to obtain by watching these guys perform their music on a stage.
With that level of anticipation, you can only imagine how I felt walking through Avalon Hollywood’s dark, oaken doors on M Machine night. The sounds of bouncy bass funk-house (Dirty Bird) served as the first backdrop in the Avalon side room, being played by an accounting major/weekend DJ by the name of Kevin Doyle. Seriously man, I knew it was going to be an amazing night when I heard Julio Bashmore, Holden Blackheath, and Disclosure all in one set.
We went to watch the opening duo, Toro Toro, and their heavy electr0-house set, which featured pretty aggressive song selections that felt like they could have been part of a headlining show — definitely can’t wait to see these guys develop and progress to big stages — before returning to the side room for a bit to snag some drinks and decompress for The M Machine’s appearance. By the time we re-entered the main room, the trio’s set was well underway with their visual trademark — a giant flashing M with synced LED sequences and the uncanny ability to make you shield your eyes like an escaped prisoner who’s spent the last 15 years digging his way out of his underground holding cell with a metal spoon — center stage.
Play the video below and keep reading on with an M Machine soundtrack.
The M Machine’s set was just like I had imagined: an unrelenting electro-synth assault on the hearing, sight, and touch (as always, Avalon’s bass kicks up something fierce). As the giant light-up M blinked and faded, so did the tracks they played, one after another, some new, some familiar. With a seriously theatrical feel that EDM artists don’t usually boast, The M Machine’s music isn’t necessarily meant for dancing. Even compared to Toro Toro, who played a similar genre’d electro-house/hard-electro set, the overall vibe of the two acts was totally differnet.
With The M Machine, I watched patrons on the dance floor, which was more empty than usual because of Nocturnal Wonderland, stop the shuffling and quit the fist-pumping to sway and bob, even to the familiar house tempo of 128bpm. M Machine doesn’t just offer dance music; they offer a fuckin’ theatrical experience. As I’ve said before, their music is best suited for final stage boss battles and as the soundtrack to robot attacks.
Photo courtesy of TheBeatMill.com
And as quickly as it had begun, the confetti fired for the final song of The M Machine’s set, and they gave their farewell “thank you”s.
Wait. What the shit? What was that, like 30 minutes? And in the mass confusion that followed, thinking there would be a “a-ha we tricked you” encore, the trio was gone, their equipment stripped from the stage, and Calvertron went on to close the night out with hard dubstep. Pretty confused and a bit disappointed, we spent the next 15 minutes confetti fighting and cursing our luck for sitting in on our #firstworldproblem of short headliner sets. (lol)
But it wasn’t until later that I realized something key that really redeemed the night. Their set was actually about an hour long, and they played all original tracks and remixes. Considering they’d only formed in 2011, to have enough songs to play a full hour set without relying on other people’s music is, to me, pretty damn impressive. And for what I did see, they were absolutely great.
And with that, it seems that The M Machine unicorn wasn’t fully tamed, but I’m okay with that. I’ll just be sure to catch them next time. 🙂
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