Justin Martin took over the Hideout last Friday night with the commanding presence of a true veteran of the electronic music scene. The energy he used to drive his set was overwhelmingly positive and consistently playful, setting an appropriate tone for a Halloween weekend set.
The Hideout is a kind of venue version of inception, nestled into one corner on the second floor of Pourhouse in downtown Minneapolis. It’s not large or flashy or overly loud, which is exactly why I’ve come to like the place. It’s like the little venue that could. Even when one is in the opposite corner from the performer, it still feels like they’re right there, playing just for you.
After an opening run of mostly other producer’s songs, including Marie Davidson’s steadily marching track “Work It,” Justin worked his way back to his own productions for much of the night. He eased back with his stellar remix of Rufus Du Sol’s “Lost My Mind” and never looked back.
Justin Martin is not an elusive person by any stretch. He’s about as honest, forthcoming, and available as they come. Nowhere has this been more evident than in his journey into sobriety. On his Instagram feed and stories, he provides frequent updates on his progress in remaining sober, along with his foray into long-distance running.
In essence, he’s created a structure into which it would be incredibly difficult to try and fit alcohol. He wakes at the butt-crack of dawn every morning to run, which means he has to go to bed earlier. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried running on a hangover, but I have and it’s absolutely awful.
In every Justin Martin set, you’re guaranteed at least one moment where the sound shifts instantly, eliciting a long, excited, “WHOOOOA!” from everybody within earshot. I wish I had a built-in Shazam ability in my brain, but sadly, we are not that advanced yet, so you’ll have to take it from me that it was a grungy, dirty, and heavy song that made the crowd perk up and pay attention on Friday night.
Part of the reason I can’t identify the song is that I didn’t recognize it, but I can usually hang onto enough of it to recognize it if I hear it again. In this case, I cannot remember it at all, and the reason for that is alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is also the reason I’m publishing this write-up days later than I’m supposed to. As a contributor to Music in Minnesota, I agreed to publish my reviews within 24 hours of the show. It makes sense, as these tend to grow stale pretty rapidly.
But on Saturday, I was in no shape to do anything but lay on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I am no spring chicken, so I’m not sure why I believe that I can still hang with the kids, making bad decisions like not eating dinner beforehand and additional, worse decisions, like not stopping when I’ve had enough to drink.
After a subsequent weekend spent horizontal in queasy agony, I’m forced to admit that Mr. Martin might be onto something with this sobriety thing.
I dressed up as a boy scout for the show…well, really it was more of a Bird Scout, the same uniform I donned for my time at Dirtybird Campout last year. If you ever went to camp and wonder why it stopped being a thing once you hit adulthood, then you should look into hitting up an east or west coast Campout. There are group competitions, merit badges, BBQ’s, and tons of music. You can even join Justin on one of his early morning jogs.
Justin wasn’t dressed up at all. He bore an ear-to-ear smile for much of his set, as usual. No doubt due to the clarity he’s achieved through sobriety and re-taking control of his life. It’s infectious, too, as the smiles and positivity radiated throughout the tiny venue and even extended well past when the music cut off.