Azari & III @ The Hoxton, Show Review

Could Azari & III’s performance at The Hoxton be the culmination of the 4-piece Toronto quartet? Or is it just a stepping stone for greater things?

As their Toronto homecoming came to an end at 3am on Friday, April 13th, this writer definitely feels that it is the latter – a stepping stone for greater things. Their recent nomination for Electronic Album of the Year at the Juno Awards and their signing on with Island Records are huge accolades itself. But their stage performance, holy shit, it was absolutely SUPERLATIVE.

Azari & III began their performance with a prolonged version of Manhooker, which then blended with Hungry for the Power and also the vocal and dance performances of Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full. From there, they performed favourites like Reckless With Your Love, Manic, Indigo and Lost in Time. And accompanied with all these songs were Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full’s flamboyant, unrelenting vogue style and overall exciting dance performances that showed no shame or care – they were there to party for the Toronto fans. The energy and stage presence that Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full possess resonated with the crowd as everything they did or said got the crowd excited, a crowd made up of all sorts of lifestyles – a very dynamic audience to say the least. Dinamo Azari handled the drums and Alixander III handled the synthesizers and keyboards and every now and then he would take pieces of Starving Yet Full’s vocals and loop them, live, which I think was an interesting touch. The Azari & III producers mesmerized the crowd with their live electronic music prowess.

Visually, Azari & III performed in front of a projection of the performance, nothing too flashy or boring. The lighting was top notch and the outfits, though my girlfriend thinks it was too scene, Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full’s outfits were outlandish yet interesting. To each their own. Dinamo Azari rocked his regular-guy clothing while Alixander III sported a Sartorialist getup… The differences in style was just another factor that played a pivotal role in the performance. To summarize, their style onstage is just as vibrant as it is offstage.

The highpoint of the performance, for me at least, is when Azari & III dropped Indigo. Watching it live presented a new way of perceiving Indigo, which was accentuated by the dance moves and energy from the whole crowd. At the very same time, however, I realized my only gripe about the performance – the vocals overshadowed the instrumentals. I thought my ear drums would simply be paralyzed hearing Indigo¬†live… The bass is intense. But instead instrumentals for the whole night were kind of drowned out by the vocals. Perhaps it was where I was standing or maybe the acoustics of The Hoxton, I don’t know… I just wish the instrumentals and vocals were in perfect harmony, not the vocals superseding the righteous house beats. Speaking of righteous house beats, they performed a vocal version of Adonis’ No Way Back.

Nonetheless, I put Azari & III’s performance among my Top 10 favourites EVER and I’ve seen Daft Punk. Yeah, Azari & III is up there. I think it would serve in their best interest to play in a larger venue (The Hoxton was overcrowded) the next time they headline.

So tell me what you guys think. I know I have Toronto readers and I know some of you were there last night, haha. Do you agree, was the performance brilliant? Or was it just meh? Let me know in the comments section.