The Buttons

The Dragon's Den

June 25, 2004

The synthesizer was fake.

I hate to say it, 'cause it was such a good stage prop, but the large box-shaped console with nodules and wires running in and out of it was fake. It really did resemble a synthesizer from the days of large computers, where a person had to pull wires out and replace them to change sounds.

It's nice to know that electronic duo The Buttons were trying to entertain as well as make people enjoy their music Friday night at The Dragon's Den. Mike Mayfield and Joseph Keppel were also dressed in matching gray tracksuits with the number "1" on one shirt and the number "0" on another. Binary code. Computers. Get it?

The two guys had super high-end gear(drum machines, synthesizers and a theremin), and it took them about an hour to connect all their wires. Luckily, D.J. Pasta was on the scene spinning booty music to keep the people occupied.

Mayfield and Keppel got the party started with some chord-oriented electronic dance music. Retro electro-funk, if you will. The duo's electronic pop sounded like Trans Am without the rock, if that helps. The music's repetitive nature made me think of trance music, but the band changed directions and added keyboard flourishes, vocals, or other weirdness to keep things interesting.

Mayfield did his Kraftwerk tribute by making his voice sound robotic, and he made rushing, wave-like strikes with the theremin. Now, theremin purists who know the instrument can be played note by note might not like Mayfield's use of it as an incendiary device, but, c'mon guys, the use of a theremin is cool and fun to listen to. Period.

The only problem I had with the band was that their songs started to sound too similar at one point.

The duo filled the dancefloor, and they played a ten song set. A friend said he nevr lost interest in the music for a second. There was a lot going on with the music, so at first I didn't know how to dance to it, but once I figured it out, it was fun.

And, remember: if you're confused, just do the robot.

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