It was a good night for underground techno lovers this past Friday at the Roxy. Gel Set opened the show for headliner Kedr Livanskiy, who has finally come to Los Angeles as part of an extensive European and North American tour. Hopefully she had a chance to enjoy the sun before she returns home to the perpetually bleak Russian countryside.
Everyone looks good in the Roxy’s hazy light. Gel Set set the tone using a setup rigged with an absurd amount of knobs. She sang alongside her hand-crafted glitchy deep house notes which gave the room an ethereal vibe. Her music is sonically similar to Kedr Livanskiy, and so the transition between the two performers was natural.
“My name is Kedr (say: Kedra) Livanskiy,” the DJ born Yana Kedrina said, after basking in applause for her walk-on, “and I’m from Russia!” And with that formal introduction, we were off. The genre of Kedr Livanskiy (which translates to Lebanese cedar) is sometimes hard to describe: it’s not regimented enough to be EDM but not melodic enough to be pop. But it certainly slaps, and everyone at the Roxy knew it. She turned up the volume and played just about everything in her catalog that I was familiar with. It was difficult to get the crowd engaged for the openers, but eventually everyone made their way out of the woodwork and onto the dancefloor—that includes the privileged folks in VIP, who typically have the best view. This is the draw of Kedr Livanskiy.
Livanskiy pranced around stage with the microphone, murmuring Russian lyrics into our open ears. She saved her most popular song to date, the title track from her 2017 album Ariadna, not just for last, but for her grand finale—which we weren’t sure was going to happen. The crowd fluctuated severely throughout the night, and when her regular set finished, several people made a beeline for the exit. But a brave few near the stage began clapping in unison until more of the crowd joined in, preserving what was left of its dwindling numbers. And then Kedr Livanskiy came out to cap off the night before bidding us a final farewell: “Have a nice life!”
Words by: Zoë Elaine
Photos by: Martin Santacruz