Air brings the boys out to First Ave

Daniel Corrigan

A horde of men turned out to see electronic rockers Air last night at First Avenue. There were random chicks sprinkled throughout the mainroom, but from staircase to staircase, the crowd consisted of dudes in ski caps and cargo shorts. Who would've though that Air, with its soft, lolling ambiance and dreamy lyrics, would attract a sausage party?

Norwegian opener Kate Havnevik provided a dose of femininity, wailing away to prerecorded beats and heavy synthesizers. "Yeah, Bjrk!" yelled a guy in the audience. Sporting a puffy purple prom dress and wiry braids, Havnevik was more like a watered-down version of the Icelandic icon. She made one attempt at a Bjrk-esque scream and exited after five songs.

Thirty minutes later, Air made a dramatic entrance, creeping onstage one member at a time. The crowd went nuts for Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, the French duo who founded the band in 1995. Dunckel wore all white, including a stark white tie, and looked very serious about his performance, as if he were manning an operating table, not a massive keyboard. Godin also wore a white collared shirt, unbuttoned to reveal some chest, tucked into tight tan pants. His beard matched his hair: red and shaggy, making his head almost symmetrical.

They played about a dozen songs, alternating between old tunes and new tracks from their latest album Pocket Symphony. Their sound ranged from hard, driving beats and psychedelic synthesizer to tinkling keyboards and funky bass rifts. An old favorite, "Cherry Blossom Girl," got huge cheers from the crowd and set the mainroom swaying. "Thank you. Merci beaucoup," Grodin chirped in between songs. Bilingual gratitude was the extent of the artist-to-audience communication. I wonder if they have more to say to French crowds.

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