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Friday, May 12, 2006
By JOE KERN
Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook, is the DJ everyone can love: drunken college meatheads, glow-stick-toting ravers, classic rock lovers and parents of small children alike. His popularity has gone beyond mere love for his music; it has crept into the arena of institutional adoration.
Cook's the bloke at the bar who drinks the most beer, tells the best jokes and stories, and does fairly well at the footie to boot. These are important qualities for a DJ, because what really makes a party electric is not necessarily the specific music being played, but the person who invited everyone.
Not that Mr. Slim shirks his responsibilities. For his own compositions, mash-ups and remixes, he understands that the cliche "less is more" is the secret to music that reaches the gut on a primal level and works its way insidiously into your consciousness. "Praise You" from 1998's "You've Come a Long Way Baby," is a perfect case in point: three piano chords from a scratchy old soul record and a lumbering beat are all it took to create a track that is almost impossible to dislike. And mashing together The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" with Public Enemy's "Bring Tha Noize" is not rocket science -- it's just badass high pop culture that doesn't leave you feeling disconnected the way a more elitist artist's choices might.
As if to emphasize his populist appeal, he'll be playing seven dates all over Japan, supported by Southern Fried Records labelmate Cagedbaby and by zZz, an organ and drum duo from the Netherlands.
Fatboy Slim plays May 17, 6 p.m. at Zepp Sapporo; May 19, 10 p.m. at Makuhari Messe, Tokyo; May 20, 10 p.m. at Zepp Sendai; May 23, 6 p.m. at Zepp Fukuoka; May 24 and 26, 6 p.m. at Zepp Osaka; and May 27, 10 p.m. at Zepp Nagoya, tel (052) 541-5758; All shows 7,000 yen/7,500 yen. For more information call (03) 3444-6751.