Busy Work, a Wednesday night weekly held at Costa Mesa's Detroit Bar, debuted last night with Steve Aoki's Cinespace DJ crew from LA, ModRocket, Japanese Motors and headliner Har Mar Superstar. It was a strange beginning to a new event: the venue was sparsely populated till 11, then a massive influx of hipsters arrived, schmoozed, danced a little, gawked at Har Mar Superstar, then fled in droves around 12:30. Did the coke high wear off that quickly?
Anyway, to the music. Aoki's Dim Mak DJs (Dan Sena, GMO, Mike B) coaxed out of their Serato Scratch setup a stream of spiky, nerve-fraying disco/techno (dickno?) that borrows the energy from rock and Red Bull with equal tenacity. Tracks from the DFA, Kitsuné and Ed Banger labels, some CSS and a floorboard-ripping remix of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs' song ramrodded their way around the club with impressive force. And against great odds, the Rapture's “House of Jealous Lovers” still sounds amazing four years and countless spins later.
ModRocket made no impression on me at all (my bad; I was talking to friends in the back of the club) and Japanese Motors came off as an amalgam of late-'70s NYC influences, like a West Coast Strokes, which I'm sure they're sick of hearing already. I'm guessing Japanese Motors will be signed to Kemado or Dim Mak by year's end.
Har Mar Superstar (aka Sean Tillmann, aka leader of Sean Na Na) has never done anything for me. I understand his shtick, but I remain immune to its supposed kitsch, so-awful-it's-great charm. He is the Ron Jeremy of club music, but HMS lacks the Hedgehog's luxuriant pelt of body hair and comes up short in the phallic endowment department, too. But that doesn't stop Har from gradually stripping down to his tighty whiteys and shaking his chubby revenue-enhancer to a dwindling, uninterested crowd. His music is functional, shlubby electro/ironic loverman R&B, but his voice is nothing special, though he can swing a microphone cord with panache. HMS is banking it all on the absurdity of a crude lardass being a Lothario, a sack-of-potatoes putz being a sexual dynamo. And some people are buying it.
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I bounced when I could sense the already topless Har was about to drop trou. I later received a text from a friend that said I'd “missed the almost full monty. My eyes are scarred for tonite. Or maybe a week.” Every once in a great while, I do the right thing.