There's nothing subtle about the nature of the party bearing down on Berkeley this weekend. "It's going to be the moment you've been waiting for," says the Rapture's bassist, Mattie Safer. "You're going to be blogging about this shit for weeks."
He's referring to the sold-out Daft Punk/Rapture show at the Greek Theatre this Friday, when about 8,000 Bay Area dwellers will boogie down to two French robots, four New York dance-punkers, and a metric ton of stage lights. "This is the tour we were always looking out for," Safer says. "We've been waiting."
Even people who swear they've never heard of Daft Punk have danced plenty to the fifteen-year-old French house duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo. One the highest grossing and most critically acclaimed electronic bands of all time, some of their bigger hits like "Digital Love," "Da Funk," "Harder Better Faster Stronger," and "Human After All" have been etched into the collective consciousness over the course of the '90s. Everyone from Kanye West to the Gap has sampled the duo, but no other performers have managed to touch Daft Punk's reputation for live-show madness.
Daft Punk performs in trademark "robot suits" that look like motorcycle helmets and gear, with a stellar light show to accompany the thumping beats and anthemic lyrics like One more time! They whetted America's appetite with a 2006 Coachella show, their first date in the States in ten years. To support an upcoming video release, Electroma, Daft Punk is now kicking off a fresh round of U.S. touring, playing an initial string of dates on the West Coast before heading East. Los Angeles gets them first; from there, the Rapture joins Daft Punk for their first-ever show together in Berkeley, and the two then continue on to Seattle, Denver, Chicago, and New York. All the West Coast dates are sold out.
"I've always wanted to travel across the country with two French robots," says Safer. "Imagine going into a coffee shop in Wyoming with them. I'm curious to see what will happen, considering that they don't get that many French products out there."
Bring lots of water and maybe some energy bars. Set lists from prior outings show that Daft Punk aims to please doing all their hits from 1997's Homework, 2001's Discovery, and 2005's Human After All, and even deep cuts for hours on end. And the Rapture's set ain't nothing to shake a booty at, either.
The nine-year-old New York quartet continues to support its second full-length, the 2006 release Pieces of the People We Love, co-produced by Danger Mouse. They've entertained Russia, Turkey, and most of Europe this summer, honing their technique, and Berkeley marks just their third day back in the States. Safer says the Rapture will run the gamut of its material and intends to compete with Daft Punk's costumes and light shows with pure performance.
"We don't have anything new new; it's sort of more or less a mix of the last two albums. I think the set's really pounding we've grown into it pretty well," says Safer. "We compete with Daft Punk's show with just our music. We could play this music in the dark and still have a huge party. I mean, we also could go out with Coldplay they have a good light show, but Daft Punk has way better music. It was an honor to be asked."
Safer didn't offer any hints about possible surprises Friday night in the way of remixes or covers. "They wouldn't be surprises, would they?" he says. But "special guests" will likely appear at the band's after-party at Mighty in San Francisco.
Safer remains tight-lipped about after-party guests, or more work this year. "We got something in the works but it's top secret shit. Expect big things this fall. That's about as much as I can say."
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