By 1 a.m. early Saturday, the packed crowd at Transit Lounge in Downtown Miami was ready for ¡Mayday!. Not because the DJs were disappointing: They played nonstop hip-hop from the brand new (Kid Cudi's "Make Her Say") to the classic (Whodini's "Freaks Come Out At Night"). But because the bar was barely breathable, a scorching sauna with little room to even move elbows.
When the lights dimmed shortly after, the audience, both ¡Mayday! die-hards and newcomers, probably wasn't expecting what it got from the album release performance for Technology, available on iTunes Tuesday.
The members of the band entered the venue from the back door, wearing black hoodies, gas masks, and wielding flashlights. It was an eerie, apocalyptic entrance that was suitable for the new EP's futuristic sound and theme.
Still donning survival gear, the band launched its set with a fierce jam. New percussionist Noms pounded on his conga drums, as lead keyboardist and ¡Mayday! producer Plex Luthor led the band into "Junkyard Dog," one of three Technology songs the band played.
¡Mayday! has a newly modified lineup, but its dynamic continues to improve. While L.T. Hopkins kept the pace on drums, former group percussionist Gianni Cash juggled playing a second set of keyboards, a Höfner 500/1 violin bass (a la Paul McCartney) and some percussion duties, while Plex often strapped on a guitar, like on the rousing performance of "Miles To Go."
Wrekonize continues to develop his singing voice, as he filled in comfortably for Cee-Lo on the chorus of "Groundhog Day," ¡Mayday!'s breakout single. Even more impressive were the closing performances of new songs "Technology" and "Crossroads and Avenues." "Technology," in particular, managed to sound more sparse and dystopian than the studio version, with Bernbiz's poignant verse being accented by frantic drums that were mostly absent throughout the song.
Despite relying heavily on new and even unreleased songs (such as "Last Resort" and "Fire"), ¡Mayday! managed to keep the crowd involved, mixing in instrumental jams, a freestyle while on the phone, and a crazy robotic dance by Noms.
Make sure to check out Monday's Miami Herald (both online and in print) for my review of Technology.