Major Lazer and Boys Noize Come Down 'Hard' on Terminal 5

Nell Alk

No event has made me feel more ancient than this past Saturday's Hard NYC,an all ages electronic musical extravaganza, at Terminal 5. A sampler of a larger HARD NYC festival scheduled for this summer, the evening featured Boys Noize, Major Lazer, Buraka Som Sistema, Proxy and Destructo. The show was all ages, appealing to some cradle robbers I know, but not terribly tempting for, say, me. No offense to the wee ones, but trying to wade through a sea of drunken and drugged 15-year-olds adorned in glow accessories and drenched in sweat proved significantly less amusing than I had hoped. Thankfully, Major Lazer's whirlwind set was enough to distract me from my surroundings.

I arrived with my 28-year-old date (geriatric compared to this crowd) just before midnight, in time to catch Major Lazer launch into their hour-long set. Their performance, which featured their signature winding and shrill ML loop or Reggae-esque ditties, was a circus act, complete with a multitude of hype men and women, marching and shouting (i.e., "When I say Major, you say Lazer!") and dancing the entire time. There were also green foam laser guns, akin to the oversized foam fingers sports fans collect. (I didn't score one myself but did catch someone backstage rocking it as an oversize necklace.) The dragon costumes they were wearing made me feel like we were celebrating the Chinese New Year. Did I miss something?

Actually, I did. Guess who was a no show? Switch. In case you're new to this producer/DJ twosome, Major Lazer is comprised of Diplo and Switch. The former hails from Philly, the latter from London. I haven't caught wind of whether or not he managed to make it to previous shows, or if he'll make an appearance at future ones, but his absence came as somewhat of a shock. Hope he's okay...

At 1 a.m., Boys Noize took over. Though Major Lazer, or, I should say, Diplo, and the hype team kept the room entertained with their outlandish dance maneuvers (some positions apt to be picked up by Kama Sutra devotees), German-based Boys Noize (a/k/a Alexander Ridha) stole the show. I hadn't planned to stay 'til 2 am, but the iconic LCD light screen imagery Ridha used in his set was mesmerizing. I couldn't look away. He brought the beats. My favorite part was when a slender dancer sauntered in front of the DJ platform and did a commendable impression of Michael Jackson whilst a remixed "Billy Jean" boomed throughout the room. His slick, quick arm gestures, tugging on his hat and grabbing his crotch, and especially his moonwalk, made the place go ape.

If you like to get fucked up and dance around, ideally to Reggae tunes while an epic laser light show assaults your senses, Major Lazer is for you. They're continuing to tour, so catch them (him? Them? Him? Them?) if you can.  Boys Noize is worth checking out, too. He's hard-hitting but enojoyable. When I say Boys, you say Noize...

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