Junkie XL's Lethal Techno Punk

Dutch outfit fires up Prodigy-like explosiveness in blasting off for other musical worlds.

NEW YORK -- Junkie XL techno wizard Tom Holkenborg burst on stage

alone, but surrounded by a lethal dose of electronic energy.

With a charge of hyperactivity that never wavered, he began flailing his arms

and dancing maniacally behind a mixing board that seemed as much an

extension of his body as the fist that he used to punch at the air. The leader and

mastermind behind Junkie XL opened his show at The Cooler on Thursday

night with a typical techno rhythm.

Yet the performance by his Dutch outfit was anything but typical.

Holkenborg's touring partners -- drummer Baz Mattie, guitarist Renee Van

Darzee, rapper/vocalist Rude Boy and DJ Frankie D -- rushed to their

instruments a few minutes after their leader, nearly matching his constant

kineticism.

For a guy who claims that he's not a hip-hop head, 30-year-old Holkenborg put

on one hell of a rap show. Still, there's something very new about his band's

sound.

A week before performing live in that small New York City club, Junkie XL

rapper Rude Boy (a.k.a. Patrick Remington) walked along the streets of Midtown

Manhattan, talking excitedly about how all the best music sounds like it comes

from Mars the first time you hear it. Hip-hop, punk-rock, Chuck Berry, Jimi

Hendrix: 33-year-old Rude Boy rattled off names that would have made the old

guard quake and that forced the new school to do a double take.

Junkie XL delivered snatches of those otherworldly influences to the more than

200 people packed into the club, but he did so in a familiar techno-rock fashion

that was clearly from this planet. "They sound like Prodigy," said Bronx resident

Dan Fogarty. "But I like Prodigy, so I like Junkie XL."

The fun began in earnest for the Dutch techno-rockers and their fans when

Rude Boy, who also raps full-time for Urban Dance Squad, took the mic. The

stocky but surprisingly agile MC convinced the audience to move with his own

bounding dance as he barked the lyrics to

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Junkie_XL/Billy_Club.ram">"Billy

Club" (RealAudio excerpt),

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Junkie_XL/Underachievers.ram">"Undera

chievers" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Metrolike" behind goggle-like

shades, ably keeping up with his skinny fellow Dutchmen.

While the beats sometimes sounded vaguely familiar, the band's energy was its

live allure to Fogarty and Israeli Sarah Wainer, who had never heard Junkie XL

before.

"They were exciting," Wainer said, "dancing, jumping, always moving. That's

what I liked about them."

Van Darzee never seemed to stop leaping about as he flailed at his guitar, its

grating metallic sound tweaked constantly by Holkenborg, who wore an orange

Sepultura T-shirt as he barely stayed within the confines of the mixing board.

Meanwhile, Frankie D seemed more intent on dancing for the first few rows of

the audience than scratching. "He said the D stands for disease," Rude Boy

once said, " 'cause he comes on like a disease."

It seemed as if Junkie XL knew that a band with a debut album titled

Saturday Teenage Kick has to throw down tons of live energy in its music

to prove itself to its audience. The group kicked out all the jams it could within

its framework of prescribed beats, with drummer Mattie only accentuating pre-

recorded rhythms.

And when Junkie had completed their regular set, there was no encore -- since

the group played almost its entire recorded repertoire.

Still, before leaving the stage, Holkenborg leaned on a keyboard, producing a

squall of noise not unlike guitar feedback.

It mirrored the outros of a score of noisy guitar bands, an apropos moment for

an electronic group that succeeded by reminding the audience of older, more

earthly sounds such as the hip-hop in Rude Boy's rap, the heavy metal in Van

Darzee's guitar or the familiar aura of rock 'n' roll from which Junkie XL draw

their energy.