Azari & III playing to Fox Theater with Die Antwoord and more

Sensual, inviting dance band Azari & III aims to make more fans in the Bay Area this week as part of its “Sonar on Tour” trek with Die Antwoord, which pulls into Oakland’s Fox Theater on Friday.

The 4-year-old Toronto four-piece offers a retro, revivalist house counter-point to the bombastic Skrillexes and Deadmau5es of the world. Using synths, drum machines, bass machines and live vocals, “I think we’re making R&B and techno,” says Alixander III, co-founding member of the group.

“We’re not trying to blast people with the newest, latest production sound and that RAWWR that smashes people. We want to invite people into the sound and have a loving kind of sound in our songs.”

The “Sonar on Tour” dates represent Azari & III’s North American invasion of sorts, given that the group’s self-titled debut LP was released Oct. 30 on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records. Started in 2008 by Alixander III (Alphonse Lanza) and Dinamo Azari (Christian Farley), the quartet has represented Toronto techno on the global stage with a string of hit singles.

The album originally came out in Europe in 2011, but the band isn’t tired of playing last year’s hits.

“We’ve worked out a lot of the kinks over the last couple of years. Now we’re in a nice, safe, calm, relaxed zone. We can perform with a big smile on our faces,” Alixander III says.

The group doesn’t rehearse, changing sets and queues nightly. “We like flying by the seat of our pants so that we don’t expect the things we’ve done by the middle of the show. That’s important. We’re not locked into this one thing, then we’d be sick of it.”

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