The Blue Man Group is an interesting combination of a live drum ‘n bass act and the Smurfs on acid. I had the pleasure of witnessing their act once before at their home theater in Chicago, but this time they were on tour across the country with a full band and made a stop right here in good ol’ SLC.
I arrived to the arena contemplating if they would be able to fill such a large venue. Sure enough the arena was packed all the way up through the nosebleeds. Upon entrance, DJ Mike Relm had already taken the stage. I have seen him throw down an incredible performance once before at the now defunct Club Suede with Del and A-Plus of the Hieroglyphics. Relm was wooing the crowd with his immaculate turntable abilities. He was creating live mash-ups by mixing tracks from deep within the pop-culture vaults. A variety of styles that encompassed Nirvana grunge to Devo synth-pop kept the crowd interested. What really makes Relm stand out from the slew of DJs across the board is his use of visuals. He creates his own visual mixes of personal creations and pop culture images and icons for the visual satisfaction of his audience. It’s a unique presentation that adds to his music and is definitely a reason to check him out.
After Relm left the stage it was time for the trio of blue bald guys in sweatpants to take over. The stage was covered with interesting props and band members. There were three drum sets, a guitarist, a bassist, a keyboard, and the most intricately intertwined pieces of PVC tubing to create a sort of xylophone organ. This was clearly more of a major production than simply just a live show. The blue guys were banging on their PVC with glowing spoons and sticks and creating some really good beats.
The theme of this show was “How to Create the True Rock Concert Experience.” They were walking the audience through a how-to cd they purchased from Ron Popeils’ brother Rod, creator of the champagne snorkel funnel. They took the audience through the acts of fist pumping and head bobbing as they pretended to learn it themselves. The music itself was kind of smothered by some of the whiny, and mainly cheesy, lyrics by the band members who were not blue. The production itself was amazing and the instruments they created were super cool. One in particular was almost a lineless fishing pole that they whipped around to create the sound of a DJ scratching. Several times during the show they would turn off all of the lights, but their lighted clothes and lighted instruments illuminated the stage and gave an almost Burning Man-like effect. The crowd seemed to be really excited about the group's antics and sounds. Overall, the music had its moments, but I would definitely not purchase a cd. On the other hand, the performance was so visually stimulating that I would definitely recommend seeing a Blue Man Group performance if the opportunity arises.