Two shows, two audiences, two tailored performances for Alex the Lion

Annie Bartholomew / Sun Star Reporter
Jan. 31, 2012

Elise Sutter, a student from Switzerland, enjoys her first dance in Alaska on Jan. 27, 2012. Kayla Hajdukovich/Sun Star

This weekend marked the second annual Wood Center Black Light Dance, hosted as a collaboration between Student Activities Office and UAF’s Concert Board.  The two night electronic  concert series took place in two separate venues: the Friday night eighteen-and-over dance in the Wood Center Ballroom and the twenty-one-and-over DJ feature at the Wood Center Pub.

The weekend of dancing showcased the musical talent of Anchorage-based DJ Alex the Lion. Concert Board members discovered Alex the Lion at the Anchorage venue Taproot where he shared the stage with KSUA General Manager and Concert Board member, Ephy Wheeler.

“When Concert Board started talking about DJs and electronic sets to put together for January he automatically popped into my head,” Wheeler recalled.

On first glance, Alex the Lion looked like he would belong in the alternative folk rock band, Fleet Foxes: tight flannel, trim beard, except for the giant DJ equipment and vinyl at his fingertips.

UAF’s under-21 population  dressed for the performance. Students’ outfits ranged from formal to freaky, with some attire right out of Lower 48 electronic music festivals like Burning Man and the Electric Daisy Carnival.  Students wearing tutus, florescent tank tops, and day-glow hair extensions experienced the most exciting results dancing under the black lights.

“He throws in a lot of good stuff you don’t usually hear at the dances,” mining engineering undergraduate Alex Bertram said about the soundtrack of Friday’s Black Light Dance. “Usually it’s all Pop and Hip Hop.”

Though Friday night’s ballroom performance seemed dynamic and diverse, Alex the Lion claimed he took many requests and answered to an audience much younger than his usual Taproot crowd.

On Saturday night’s Pub performance Alex predicted, “Tonight is going to be a lot different as far as style ranges go. It’s going to be more of an indie thing.” Parliament Funkadelic, Talking Heads, and the Dead Weather, were just a few artists’ names from the genre-bending work that Alex the Lion offered Saturday. The crowd was ecstatic and quick to adjust to any beat from their fearless disk jockey.

“I’m glad Concert Board and Student Activities are working with such talented artists,” said Rosemary Paz, Concert Board member after stepping off the dance floor. “I’ve been wanting a DJ like Alex to come to Fairbanks. His style is definitely different from a lot of the DJs that have come through here.”

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