When Tommy Hamilton and Keith Tucker of AUX88 first began their musical journey, their wants and desires were anything but grandiose. They weren’t dreaming of the glitz, the glamour, the international travels or sold out shows. In fact, all they wanted to see was their name on a pressed piece of vinyl.
25 years later, the duo is closing out the Red Bull Music Academy stage in the heart of their hometown at Movement 2011. Oh, how things can change!
A week before their performance, we met with AUX88 in a sleepy warehouse district on the east side of Detroit. Hamilton (TomTom) and Tucker (K-1) were there to work out the visuals of their live set with famed visual artist Detronik. After a brief tour of Europe, the guys had been working tirelessly to rehearse and refine what they promised to be a “next level performance.”
“When we do it in Detroit, we do it big,” says Tucker. “If you’re paying money to come to the festival, you should be coming to see a real show.”
AUX88 & Detronik
The duo hinted at covering each section of their catalog, ultimately cramming three shows into one; of dancers in homage of their background in dance; of costume changes and live vocals; of making sure that you “felt it on the dance floor.”
Without a breath of doubt, AUX88 did not disappoint. With nearly their entire studio set-up present on stage, they slammed headfirst into the funk-in-the-trunk techno of side project Mad Scientist, dressed the part in white lab coats.
Next, it was onto their 2010 project Black Tokyo, a heavily Japanese influenced record replete with female vocals, melodic (yet still very minimal) hooks and more Detroit bass than you could shake a stick at. The vocalist behind those sparse and spectacular hooks, Ice Truck, took the stage for a handful of songs.
Those twists and turns Hamilton and Tucker had promised a week earlier? Delivered as promise.
“For as long as we’ve been doing this, we’ve amassed such a large amount of music that it’s tough to fit it all into an hour,” says Tucker. But AUX88 made it happen with fluid transitions, sampling through their eclectic array of songs as the crowd clamored for more.
“We grew up performing,” adds Hamilton. “We can do that in our sleep.”
Indeed, nobody slept on AUX88 last Sunday at Movement 2011.
AUX88 - Play it Loud
Follow @redbull on Twitter for more news and updates.