Kicking off an electronic music festival at a gay bar is fitting. Electronic music would still be twitching around on the floor to Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" if we lived in a fully hetero society. Thursday's event at Crush Bar, a "straight-friendly" gay bar, was supposedly just a warmup for the two talent-packed weekend nights to come. But by 11 pm Art of Hot, aka Portland-based producer Chris Demetras, was moving butts both straight and gay with the straightforward house beats he's perfected at the Flight and Synthesis nights.

There wasn’t much of Art of Hot’s techno to be heard early on, which was probably a blessing given the bar’s relatively intimate dance floor. To close out his set, Art of Hot played Daft Punk’s “Around The World.” Say what you will about a song everyone’s heard a thousand times, it’s still better than many of the new Random Access Memories tracks.

Ctrl_Alt_Dlt has the title of “special guest,” which basically means he’s not from Portland. Still, it’s no secret that Seattle’s electronic scene—where Ctrl_Alt_Dlt holds a residency and runs the monthly techno party Sweatbox—puts Portland’s to shame. Sneakily transitioning from dark house to his brand of weirdo techno as the night went on, Ctrl_Alt_Dlt showed impressive sonic awareness for someone who’s a production freshman.

All in all, it was more than a good warmup for things to come this weekend. It isn’t exactly Ibiza weather, but maybe we should just be hoping for London. Bring on the rainy, bumpin’ weekend.

Art of Hot


 All photos by Mitch Lillie.