RJD2's Colossal Night at Music Hall of Williamsburg
If composing the theme song to Mad Men isn't enough to give RJD2, better known as 33-year-old Ramble John Krohn, a bit of popular staying power, the release of his fourth studio album, The Colossus, is indeed.
The disc, which features Krohn making his singer-songwriter debut, dropped January 19th, the same day Krohn took off in Knoxville, and was met with ample critical praise. The audience at Music Hall of Williamsburg, where he performed Saturday night, seemed to approve too.
A continued departure from his earlier works, the sample-heavy Deadringer and Since We Last Spoke, The Colossus features a more palatable Krohn singing and using instrumentation beyond his standard vintage synthesizers and Music Production Centers. That said, during the show, he made good use of his staple music-makers. At one point he projected a live feed of his hands onto a screen behind him, giving visual insight as to what it takes to manipulate a MPC. His hands flew over the buttons, pushing them at top speed, while the audience watched on the big screen behind him in awe.
Despite the interactive nature of Krohn's performance, he rarely uttered more than a few words between numbers. Sometimes he sang, other times he let the vinyl have a voice. He did, however, show off his sense of humor. When he whipped out a Mario Brothers figurine and had Mario man the MPC, the room ate it up. And, towards the end of his hit "Ghostwriter," he emerged wearing a full black space suit, attacking the MPC as it rested against his stomach, his face hidden behind what looked like a welder's mask.
Towards the end of the performance Krohn brought out guest singer Aaron Livingston, who appears on The Colossus, for "Crumbs off the Table." This lyrically smooth-as-silk yet instrumentally textured track proved to be a crowd-pleaser. The encore, "Making Days Longer," from Since We Last Spoke, elicited cheering and lighters held high. The evening was perhaps more subdued for what one might expect from RJD2, but after listening to the diverse The Colossus, it's clear Krohn has begun to span a wide breadth, from electronica to straight rock.
Once the show wrapped, Krohn leaned down to shake the hands of fans. After the tech guys began to pack up, he returned to sign ticket stubs, posters and t-shirts and pose for photos. He stayed with his fans for as long as the Music Hall's staff would allow, while venue employees swept up the plastic cups.