MSTRKRFT Disappoints at Pittsburgh Electronic Music Festival

05 Jul

MSTRKRFT, a electro-house duo coming out of Ontario, has been a force on the electronic dance scene since 2006 when they released The Looks.  I have seen MSTRKRFT twice before, first at Ultra Music Festival and then at Lollapalooza, so I have seen what they are capable of.  These guys are experts at throwing a dance party.  Unfortunately for everyone in attendance on Sunday, MSTRKRFT did not bring their “A” game.  Matter of fact, they didn’t even bring their “B” or “C” game.


When I first heard that an electronic music festival was coming to our small and under-appreciated town of Pittsburgh, I rejoiced.  But I was also a little skeptical.  Can Pittsburgh bring out crowds to support major acts like this? Can Pittsburgh, as a city, provide a venue that will accept, if not support, the dance music scene and its pill-popping fans instead of laying down rule after rule upon its festival-goers? These questions were answered on Sunday night at Stage AE during Pittsburgh Electronic Music Festival.

We arrived in the parking lot before the concert began, and already there were throngs of people tailgating, dancing, and having a good time.  The z-lounge brought out turntables and their own DJs were spinning house music.  People were in a frenzy and the atmosphere was electric.

We entered the festival midway through Mux Mool’s set.  The best word to use to describe the scene would be “awkward.” The sun was blaring down on the crowd, the dance floor was barely alive and there were security guards staring at everyone sitting in the grass.  Designer Drugs came on afterwards and did an admirable job of bringing people to the dance floor with their set.  Although their transitions were sometimes sloppy, they seemed to be having fun onstage and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

The 5 o’clock start time seemed like a bad idea on such a hot day. Dance music, in its essence, is for the night.  As dubstep-demon Excision came on around 8 o’clock, the sun was starting to fade, the stage lights became more vivid, and the crowd started to grow.  Excision livened the crowd and gave me hope about Pittsburgh and electronic music.  Everyone was loving it and the stage seemed primed for the headliner, MSTRKRFT, to completely bring down the house with their electro madness.

To put it simply, MSTRKRFT did not care about their set last night.  It was apparent from the first track that they were packing it in and just getting through.  Some of the songs they played were not even full songs, just unfinished ideas that they seemed to be using as filler to kill time.   Other than one chorus of Heartbreaker with John Legend, they played no tracks with vocals.  They played none of their popular songs and no songs off of their two full length albums.  At one point during the set, Jesse of MSTRKRFT, seemingly to show his displeasure, raised his arm to check his watch to see how much time was left.   At the end of their set, they just let their music run on a loop and left the stage.  A roadie from the festival had to come onstage and turn it off for them.

This diva-like act by MSTRKRFT was completely unfair to the people who paid money to see them and Pittsburgh in general.  There may not have been a Bonnarroo-sized crowd in attendance, but to at show no respect to their fans is an abhorrent and selfish act.

This is my opinion, but I suspect that there was an issue with money.  The organizers of the festival may not have broken even and may not have been able to pay MSTRKRFT their full due.  Regardless, if money is the only reason that MSTRKRFT is making music then they do not deserve to be booked at other festivals and shows.

For Pittsburgh, there remains to be seen if it can support a major electronic music festival.  Perhaps the organizers of this event were unrealistic in booking an act this big and expecting to break even.  Many festivals follow the model of gaining momentum and capital on a yearly basis before signing major acts such as MSTRKRFT. Perhaps if they started smaller with less expensive acts and a more underground venue it could be a success.

If you were there and have anything to say about this event, leave me a comment. Thanks for reading.


Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Event Review


Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “MSTRKRFT Disappoints at Pittsburgh Electronic Music Festival

  1. Courtney

    July 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    It’s awesome that whoever this is had a good time at our tail gate. However, he had a skewed version of the MSTRKRFT show. They were playing NEW SHIT, not old stuff from their records out 2 and 5 years ago. I’ve seen them 5 times and they always leave a record on when they go off stage. He/she must have missed how into it JFK was and they threw a bottle of vodka and bottles of beer into the crowd. Doesn’t sound like they were sludging through it to me. Oh, and I had a great time as well!!

    • skinnyhendrix

      July 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Courtney, I’m glad you had a great time at the show – so did I. This blog is my opinion and I dont claim to be speaking for anyone else. In fact I did see them throw the bottles into the crowd and I interpreted it as a rebellion against the people who threw the festival and the sponsors since they were obliged to have them on stage with them. Another beef I have with MSTRKRFT is that they didn’t care about the audience. They treated it as a test crowd for some of their new and unfinished songs to see how they sounded and work out kinks before their big festival shows coming up. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. a.j.e.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Okay, so I won’t lie… I was a *little* disappointed that MSTRKRFT didn’t play any songs from “The Looks” or “Fist of God” (except for “Heartbreaker”). However, the songs they did play sounded AMAZING! It was nice to hear some new stuff from them. And in my opinion, their set was great, even though it would’ve been nice to hear at least 1 song from either of their albums. You know what I noticed though? Designer Drugs kinda did the same thing during their set – they didn’t play any of their more well-known songs (like “ZOMBIES!”), and the only song they played from their album “Hardcore/Softcore” was “Face Melter,” which sounded awesome, but they only played part of it. Other than that, they played all new stuff and some DD remixes. Still a fantastic set though!

    And I have to agree with what Courtney said. I felt like both JFK and Al-P were really into what they were doing and they were having fun. Their body movement, their facial expressions at points during the show, the drinking and chain-smoking…they were diggin’ it for sure. At times, I got the feeling that JFK was really proud of the new music they were playing and how it sounded. You could tell by his body movement and head bobbing during certain points in songs. Of course I can’t speak for everyone, but by the reaction of the crowd, I’m sure a lot of people enjoyed the new music, too.

    All in all, I had an awesome time, and I’m so glad I went!

    P.S. You spelled MSTRKRFT wrong twice in the first paragraph. Gotta watch those typos. 😉

    • skinnyhendrix

      July 6, 2011 at 3:54 am

      Thanks for telling me about the typos….theres so many damn consonants in MSTRKRFT!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: