As a lover of synthesizers, I was very excited to see Anthonie Tonnon perform at the Crystal Palace, and let me tell you, the show was nothing short of spectacular. From the music to the light show, to even the obscure dancing, A Synthesized Universe was an absolute triumph. Tonnon wasn’t the only performer in the show though. Erica Sklenars, also known as Lady Lazerlight, put on an incredible display of holographic projections that wowed audience members – especially myself.
I think that the balance between the music and the lights was perfect. Neither element outshone the other; they were both working together equally to create a visual and sonic masterpiece. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting the lighting element of the performance – I like to be surprised when I go to shows which is why I didn’t read the synopsis. I’m very thankful I didn’t read it either because the holograms were a complete surprise to me! The show started with projections of holographic images of stars and planets and it took my breath away. With the elegant synths in the background, the lights perfectly captured the beauty of our universe.
The overall highlight for me was the music. Tonnon is a master at creating sounds that evoke pure and raw emotions. A theme that he kept alluding to through the show, was the idea that nothing can be perfect. His music wasn’t perfect. There was dissonance in chords, a hum from the guitar pickup, clashing sounds and all sorts of little irregularities, but all those tiny imperfections is what made his music so stunning. It sent through a message that not everything has to be perfect to be great.
Although the show was about the Universe, Tonnon brought it back home and discussed New Zealand’s contribution to the poor state of our planet in the final songs. He commented about a factory in the South Island that harbours toxic waste. Images of the place were thrown up on the screen and holograms. Alongside the powerful lyrics, the song really resonated with me as a New Zealander and I’m sure that was the case for many of the other audience members.
Overall, I had a blast seeing A Synthesized Universe and wish I could see it again (this time in the middle seats to see the holograms better!). The musicianship of Tonnon was extremely high and I must applaud him once more for putting on such an entertaining, thought-provoking and visually stunning performance. A massive congratulations to all those involved and the Tauranga Arts Festival!