It’s Thursday night and I’m on my way to the DNA Lounge and a few things are going through my head. I’ve never been to this venue so I really don’t know what to expect. This is an 18 and up show, the energy is going to be so different. And, of course, I was thinking about how Figure and ill. Gates’ sets would compare to the ones I’ve heard them play in the past.
This venue has an attached pizza restaurant and bar which is open 24 hours and is fully accessible at any point in the night from inside the club. $12 pitchers of beer and some solid slices can perk up anyone’s night out! Before even going in I was starting to dig this place. Inside was one square room with catwalks that rose from the stage sides up and around the whole building. The stage setup was pretty top notch, with a carved wooden DJ booth backed by two hexagon visualizer screens. Go go dancers flanked the stage and actually possessed some real dancing talent. Around the walls of the dance floor were a live painting by Dela, as well as a showcase of his work and Jeremiah Allen Welch’s. Jai’s thugchains provided some original braided necklaces and hats fit for anyone who wants to get an instant fashion upgrade.
As I came in Sound Remedy was playing a trap set that had the whole crowd bopping and swaying in wild abandon. Trap sets often play a lot of the same songs, but Sound Remedy kept it fresh and dropped some material virgin to my ears. Not long after Candyland took the stage, and I think, took many people by surprise. Some people even said, “I thought Candyland was a duo!” after seeing that it’s one young black girl with one of the most rocking fros I have ever seen. She displayed some impressive versatility blending genres like rocking electro, grimey dubstep, down low trap, and funky house into a treat for the ears. Her crowd presence was energetic, it felt like she was raging just as hard as everyone else was. The crowd was pretty young but they were all rocking and having a great time, taking advantage of the opportunity to get wild in a club. After I did my own research I came to find out that Candyland actually is a duo, made up of Josie Martin and Ethan Davis. It looks like only one half of this Santa Barbara based team was able to make it out for the night.
I took a stroll up the catwalks to catch the view and noticed a small upstairs room hiding away. When I went in it was pretty empty, but arguably one of the best sets I would hear all night, at least by my count. This guy’s name is Kitty-D and he had a very unique and funky selection of tracks at his disposal. He took us through an underwater carnival and brought us out with a sampling of Biggie Smalls. This upper stage had two tall totem poles that glowed from inside through some wild patterns, a method of stage lighting which I had actually been designing earlier in the day for my own uses.
Of course, everyone was psyched for Figure and he definitely got us moving to the limit of where your legs will take you. I’m not the biggest fan of hardcore dubstep, but Figure played a unique and a bit groovier set. At one point though, I thought, “This is troll music;” just imagining the set as the soundtrack to a huge troll smashing villages was just too perfect in my mind. He announced a few times that he was throwing some exclusive unreleased tracks at us. A Major Lazer remix brought reggaeton and moombahton into the mix for some ethnic flavor. Not long after, a remix of Sandstorm by Darude and a sound bite that cried “Jack the ripper!” kept it weird. That mixed into a super laser bass tune with a “Death Ray!” sample which brought us out into a goofy extraterrestrial land. I’m not going to lie, but I had way more fun with Figure than I had expected coming to the show. I had seen him play at Stilldream and that set had been a bit too hard for my taste in that time and space. Tonight it worked, everything connected and it was a blast. I enjoyed how noticeable it was that Figure himself was having so much fun conducting the crowd.
I was pumped for ill. Gates to come on because his set at Snowglobe this year on New Years Eve was a memorably delicious one. As an opener to his set a scene from Breaking Bad played over heard asking us, “are you guys ready for this?”, before he dropped a gnarly remix of a track by Lupe Fiasco and Bassnectar. Die Antwoord got people wiggling and Missy Eliot added some sass. He played a lot of remixes that were so changed up that I couldn’t recognize exactly what they were remixes of. That’s a good thing, showing me he’s not just linking tracks together, he’s tuning them and shaping them to his own flavor and musical mind. Right before the end of his set he yelled out that he was leaving us with a brand new remix of a track off R/D’s latest EP.
Back upstairs for the last hour or so, I was so glad I caught Mihkal, a Bay Area staple whose style I find undeniably amazing. He threw in one of my favorites off of Minnesota’s latest Altered States EP and ended off the night with a song called “Nothing’s Worth Losing That” by legends Telefon Tel Aviv that is a personal favorite of mine, sealing off the night with perfect send off.
Collectively, the whole event was great and I had a blast getting down with all the wonderful weirdos that populated the dance floor. Going to a new venue is always a great way to refresh your nightlife, which is exactly what this show did for me.
Don’t forget to check out the full photo album from the show on Music You Need’s Facebook page!
Connect with Figure
Connect with ill.Gates
Connect with Candyland
Connect with Sound Remedy