D-Edge has an interesting aura. It's an underground club, and yet it has an impressively neat aesthetic. Their birthday celebration, which took place in a half-a-century-old concert hall, had a similar kind of duality: a combination of classic and contemporary, traditional and technological, gritty and polished.
Entering Grand Metropole was like walking into the '60s, when Metropole Gallery, in which the hall is now located, was a hotspot for artists and intellectuals who would later become legendary in Brazil, such as Chico Buarque, Vinicius de Moraes and Jorge Ben. Two long stairs led to the concert hall; on the way, lights that immitated D-Edge's equalizers were installed specially for the event. The line array soundsystem and a multi-angle plaster ceiling (which helped the acoustics) did wonders for the artists on the bill, all of whom were playing live.
Brazilian trio The Drone Lovers opened the night with a blend of house and disco punk, combining their own tracks with covers of songs like Everything But The Girl's "Missing," all delivered with analog synths, a saxophone and frontwoman Érica Alves' smooth vocals. Jamie Lidell came next and gave a soulful and energetic performance. It was my first time seeing him on stage, and I was curious to know whether his voice would be as sharp as on his records—it was.
The most anticipated performance of the night, though, was undoubtedly Nicolas Jaar. He played his usual repertoire, moving between euphoric closed-eyes and hands-in-the-air moments. After a warm and energetic live set from Ada, the Brazilian duo Kings Of Swingers dove into a powerful house and techno set. Formed by Mau Mau and D-Edge owner Renato Ratier, they kept the crowd fully engaged until the end of the show, when the audience was invited up on stage.
It's not rare for visuals to be overblown at this kind of event, but that was definitely not the case here. D-Edge's famous designer, Muti Randolph, made a great light design work with LEDs, playing beautifully crafted geometric shapes with an impressive harmony of colours that I'd dare say were one of the best parts of the evening. Without his work, it's hard to imagine the soiree's overall aesthetic being so beautifully conceived.