The idea of checking Crystal Method and Flave out at a revamped Polly Esther's, now called Element, sounded intriguing enough that I had to make it happen.
In terms of music, the night was perfect. When we walked in, Flave was playing a great set which had its highlights, particularly when he pulled out his sax. His set was a bit different than usual and mixed in all different kind of music. However, I've heard him spin many many times, and I've been in situations where it has been better, most notably at the Last Supper Club on Thursdays in combination with Jordan and Hyperfunk.
This was my first time hearing Crystal Method and they were awesome. I'm not a big fan of live music anymore, and I'm glad they played a DJ set that included tracks from their latest album. The entire set was punctuated with deep bass/synth riffs, and I use the word "riff" to indicate their rock sensibility. One of the reason I like Crystal Method is because they are creators of electronic music, unlike most DJs (I refuse to call electronic music creators "producers"--that just brings Rick Rubin to mind), and I was glad to hear some original music.
The venue, Element, however, ultimately left a bit to be desired. At the outset, I have to say that the staff (bartenders, bouncers, etc.) were extremely nice. The club has also been redone very well and has a feel to it that I've only seen in Asian clubs (which are designed from the ground up to be entertainment centres, rather than modifying existing buildings). The music and the sound system is excellent, one of the best in Seattle.
There was however one thing that irked me: drinks get taken away even if they are near full when they are left unattended for only about two minutes. I had to order four Chopin martinis to get two into my system. I spoke to the bartender about this and she said "it's to protect you from people spiking your drinks." Hello, this is Seattle, not Beijing or Bangkok (where I just spent a whole month and where people do indeed routinely do this). I've never been to a single club in Seattle where spiking drinks was considered a problem (and I've been to many of them). So this is either telling that Element is a risky place to be, or they take away your drinks so you simply order more. All this does is encourage people to dance with drinks in their hands, which is annoying.
While I saw some familiar faces, I felt a large portion of the crowd was simply a revamping of the old Polly Esther crowd. The bottom line is that this is my first and probably my last time at Element. Good luck to them.