Critics of electronic dance music claim that the genre is too mechanical, but Portuguese DJ RAC challenges this notion, as he brought each of his songs to life onstage during his show at the Black Cat on Oct. 5. His vision blends the upbeat, high-energy elements of hip-hop with the emotion of indie rock.
André Allen Anjos, now known by his stage name RAC, takes EDM to a new level with his innovative remixes of songs. RAC produces, synthesizes and performs original remixes and won the Best Remixed Recording Grammy Award in 2017 with “Tearing Me Up.” RAC’s style is more nuanced than that of the stereotypical EDM DJ, and he demonstrates his skill by bringing emotion into his work.
RAC released his first album in May 2012, with the featured single “Hollywood.” Shortly thereafter, RAC debuted his second original song, “Let Go.” At RAC’s show at the Black Cat, he performed songs from his newest album, “EGO,” which was released in July by Counter Records.
RAC has performed at a variety of prominent music festivals such as Coachella, Firefly Festival, Ultra and Lollapalooza, but the Black Cat is a much more intimate setting, and the venue was sold out for the EDM artist’s show. The venue was packed by the time that RAC took the stage, and the audience was eager for him to perform.
RAC opened with his new song “Fever” and then energized the show by playing his most popular songs one after another, following with “Hollywood” and “Let Go.” RAC did a stellar job of tailoring his set list to the audience — a lively crowd that did not seem inclined to dancing.
His playing of his debut record, “Strangers,” with his second, “EGO,” amped up the crowd and kept everyone on their toes in anticipation of the next song.
Liz Anjos, RAC’s wife who is known as Pink Feathers, sang the female leads from his albums and brought an ethereal sound to the otherwise pop-driven concert. She sang lead vocals on her own song, “It’s A Shame,” as well as songs originally sung by other singers, like “Nobody” from RAC’s “EGO” and older singles like RAC’s “Can’t Forget You.”
The dynamic between her and RAC’s male accompanying singer was compelling and served RAC’s performance well. The two singers collaborated on “Ready for It” from RAC’s “Strangers.” The back-and-forth between Pink Feathers’ twangy indie voice and RAC’s powerful rock sound meshed well on stage.
RAC captured the essence of his music by covering both songs featured by other artists and renditions of RAC’s own creations. Members of the audience could not help but bob their heads to the mellow but captivating songs. RAC’s lead singer had a contagious effervescence about him. His vibrant movement around the stage and enthusiasm was palpable. The audience felt this vivacity throughout the duration of the show.
RAC also incorporated old hit singles like “One House” and selections from “Strangers” in the show. He did justice to these numbers and hit a high note with crowd favorite, “Cheap Sunglasses.” The crowd’s enthusiasm was apparent as RAC encouraged the crowd join in on some of the lyrics. This excitement continued on into the next feel-good song of “The Beautiful Game” from “EGO.”
RAC explored a vast range of sounds and emotions throughout his show, not only taking audiences on a thrilling electronic music journey but also exposing the crowd to the depth of the alternative music genre. The Black Cat was an interesting choice of venue for RAC, as it was a smaller, more intimate setting in comparison with the music festivals where he often plays, but it served his purpose well. Ultimately, RAC tapped into the intimacy of the venue to cater his set list to his enthusiastic Washington, D.C. fans.