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Atomik at Bayside Bowl, March 15

Music seen
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 23, 2011

Having a DJ (or, in this case, two) play your bowling night is a luxury, but damned if it doesn't seem like an obligatory one on occasion. Have you ever tried to have fun in a 24-lane bowling alley while some bro has monopolized its jukebox to play a 10-minute long O.A.R. song? It is literally impossible. I have tried to deal with such hell more than once in the early years of the BowlPortland league, before its move to Bayside Bowl.

So, first of all, thank god this Alder Street venue, crucial for the variety it adds to Portland nightlife, has no jukebox. Second, a hearty hand to them for having a duo as fun as Atomik manning their playlist on a somewhat regular bassist. You hopefully are familiar with the pair (Matty T and Jason Keith): currently bemulleted, unabashedly cheeky, relentlessly good-natured, once regular fixtures at the White Heart and Port City Music Hall. They approach a sort of ideal for the bowling DJ. Clearly in casual mode (using only one computer to mix with, playing Michael Jackson's "The Girl Is Mine" in the early going), the boys have a solid read on both their audience's taste and our expectations of them. Which are, basically: get people dancing every 15 minutes or so, and laughing about as often.

Last week, Atomik were in a fine groove, blending obvious bangers (Blackstreet's "No Diggity") with longer cuts of not-so-danceable but nonetheless impeccable numbers like the Clash's "Rudy Can't Fail," and worthy crutches like the Jacksons and Phoenix. Doses of irony were both blatant ("Danger Zone," Kenny Loggins) and ambiguous (it's strange how quaint Jay-Z's "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" sounds already), and their meshing of tracks was sometimes ingenious (I particularly liked the digital-to-analog transition from Beastie Boys' "Body Movin'" to the Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian"). Kind of the best thing about Atomik was that I forgot they were still playing after a while, because they simply didn't offer anything to complain about; that's probably the most important quality of a good bowling-alley set.

Related: The State Theatre: This is actually going to work, The Cyborg Trio make it up as they go along, Power pop, radio rock, and more, More more >
  Topics: New England Music News , Music, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson,  More more >
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