Critic's pick: Grab your glow sticks: Electronic dance music throws down

Critic's pick: Grab your glow sticks: Electronic dance music throws down

June 14th, 2014 by Casey Phillips in Life Entertainment

Arpetrio is scheduled to perform tonight at 8:30.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

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* What: Damn Right and Arpetrio.

* When: 6:30 p.m. tonight (Damn Right); 8:30 p.m. tonight (Arpetrio).

* Where: Both on Unum Stage.

* Admission: Riverbend 9-day wristband ($50); one-day wristband ($26).

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If there's one thing I was really pleased to see Riverbend officials put into effect last year, it was booking a solid block of electronic dance music at the Unum Stage.

EDM is one of my favorite genres and what I'm most likely to be destroying my eardrums with on my free time, but it hasn't traditionally been one of Riverbend's strong suits.

That being said, the experiment must have worked because it has been reprised this year. If you're a fan of club, house or any other electronic subgenre that features synthesizers and drum machines, grab your glow sticks because tonight's your night and Unum's your stage.

The evening will kick off with a set by Damn Right, a Philadelphia-based trio with a free-flowing approach to its productions that draws on elements of many genres and presents it in concert with a visually arresting light show. Don't consider a MacBook Pro to be a viable instrument? They combine technical manipulation of loops and samples with live instrumentation. Think of them as a kind of human-machine hybrid, a musical cyborg.

After Damn Right exits stage left, they'll be replaced by Arpetrio, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based trio consisting of Wes Taylor (drums/midi), Alex Mindermann (guitar/synth/electronics) and Trent Little (bass/keys). All three Like Damn Right, these guys blend electric wizardry with live instrumentation, earning them at least a few nods online as a "livetronic" band.

Riverbend has its fair share of critics who accuse it of being too musically homogeneous, but tonight's EDM experiment proves that organizers are willing to go out on a limb and try something new. The only way they'll keep it up is if you show up and make the risk worth it.

And even if you're not into EDM, these two bands might convince you to join the fold. I assure you, there's room on the dance floor for everyone.

Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.