“Umm, yeah, it stands for Young Americans Challenging High Technology,” said Jona Bechtolt, a.k.a. YACHT, to the crowd during his self-imposed mid-set question period. A notable irony, perhaps, considering the nature of his game: a sometimes remixer, drummer, collaborator, artist and all-around one-man dance party freakout show, who utilizes said “high technology” in creating/performing.
During his opening set for Architecture in Helsinki, he was powered by little more than a microphone, a laptop, sneakers and whatever drives him to invent wickedly entertaining capitalist-critiquing commentaries. His performance consisted of his own organ compositions, mixed with phat, slightly goofy beats and seemingly improvised dance routines.
Without trying too hard to maintain his ‘cool,’ Bechtolt was undeniably awesome and incredibly inspiring. He proved his pudding as a real-life DIY extraordinaire, content with ensuring a good time was had by all without giving a particular fuck about what his audience or critics may dish his way. Yet, this overall confidence appeared to come easily for a guy who displayed all the humility of a stranger handing out candy to a roomful of sugar-starved children. In other words, he gave the people what they didn’t know they craved, and did so without unnecessary posturing and self-righteousness.
“Do what you love. Love what you do. It’s priceless! It’s priceless!” he proclaimed. The majority of his lyrical endeavours were infused with much the same sentiment: outwardly self-evident truths deceptive in their simplicity, yet unpretentious in their contemplative efficiency.
While such an opening act may be tough to follow, this thought was quickly eroded by the energy projected from the growing crowd that gathered for the main event. Architecture in Helsinki took to the stage to overwhelming and pre-emptive acclaim, while I looked downwards from the balcony and considered the irony if it were to collapse in the midst of such an episode.
While I’m far from being the biggest AIH fan, in this particular environment, I’m in the vast minority. Yet, I remained open as I witnessed the ensuing spectacle, where people went ape-shit for these guys. The front row was lined with desperately flirtatious she-fans, armed with batting eyelashes and skin-bearing tops. Fist-pumping boy-nerds and dance-ready fun-seeking types were there, too. And all the while, the drunken dude to my right insisted that I ought to describe the AIH experience as an event akin to a roller-derby, to which I totally agreed.
Inducing as much frenzy and sheer, genuine delight as these guys did is no small feat. Being the comparatively smallest supporter in the room, I may just be a slow convert.