written by Nate Manuel
Creating a recognizable brand is one of the most important things a modern DJ can do. Masks, hairstyles, or costumes are commonly used by artists to differentiate themselves and foster an image, much to the relief of not-so-sober festival goers wondering whose music they’re raging to at any given show. Rezz easily accomplishes this goal with her uniquely mesmerizing light-show goggles, and Malaa’s signature black ski mask serves as yet another thematic complement of the “Lunatic Tour”.
Malaa started the night at The Magic Stick in Detroit with higher tempos and a light yet moody vibe, remixing old funk and hip-hop classics into hard hitting house anthems. I was impressed by his unique use of long vocal samples as a replacement for using a microphone to interact with the crowd. It’s certainly a house music tradition to weave lengthy vocal samples over a track, but Malaa’s specific timing of sample cuts to “clap your hands” or similar worked especially well.
Rezz played a set containing the highest concentration of the simplest hard electro house and dub I have ever heard. Her stripped-down remixes of Zed’s Dead, Bassnectar, Deadmau5, and others fit seamlessly into her own minimalistic style. Playing nearly every track off her recent Something Wrong Here EP, Rezz showed an affinity for making each rhythm and rattle count. Teasing the crowd with a little drum and bass towards the end, there was never a dull moment, even as the clock rolled a good ten minutes past the posted closing time.
It was clear by the end of the show this tour is destined for success. Everything about each artists seemed to play well off the other: visuals, persona, genre, fanbase, overall aesthetic. Their similarities are intriguing while their differences make them shine brighter as individual artists. Both have mysterious, charismatic personas— Alien Queen Rezz and her cult of diehard followers, Malaa the mysterious frenchman with industry connections— and the two artists show a knack for breaking genres and stripping out unnecessary noise with either original tracks or remixes. After experiencing one of these shows, neither could be glossed over in a future lineup.