Under the ever changing and incandescent lights of Republic, me, a lot of hipsters, and some normal people gathered to hear some music. Up first was D33J, a DJ (see what he did there?) who was very successful. He’s one of those people that remind us that a laptop really can be an instrument. Alone on a stage filled with equipment for performers after him, he managed to still be a commanding presence. He thanked the audience for “coming early and hanging out” which endeared him to us in a humanizing way. At some point he strapped on a guitar that he only used a couple of times, and I couldn’t really hear, but then there was the Chief Keef Citgo sample that was perfect.The entire time he was on he was completely engrossed in the music, keeping time with his whole body. The music was something you feel in your chest more than your ears, very light but submerged at the same time. There were a couple of times when it was more jarring than melodic to me, but overall very impressive.
Next was rapper Jonwayne. He was so unassuming, most people didn’t realize he had started or that he was the next performer, he came out and started the first song kneeling from the floor in front of his speakers. He had a unique combination of reservation and outwardness. He was the only performer of the night to engage with the audience throughout his set. Upon his first request for the audience to chant back the refrain of a song, he was met with tepid response but after some persistence he had every person in the room yelling, “It ain’t the crown that makes the royalty, it’s the crowd and the loyalty.” His stage presence was formidable; he did this thing where he would walk to every corner of the stage, picking up his feet slowly in time with the music, reminiscent of a rap Godzilla, crushing buildings as the songs played.
Then Mount Kimbie! They set up an elaborate stage of instruments, keyboards, turntables, many musical accouterments, which they shared. Behind them, a full wall projection of different photographs from trans-continental travels played. The pictures lent a personal feel to the music, we became part of this trip that was so heavily documented. The songs bled into each other, and the bill felt more like an electro Fantasia than set list. The songs experimented with discord and many times I felt the music choppy, only then to have other instruments come in, bolster the sound and let me hear what they clearly heard all along. Near the end of their set they brought everyone back onstage and they all did a song together that clearly they had written recently because Jonwayne had to read his verses from his phone. Then they did their last song which was my favorite, it was smooth and light and made everyone dance. Overall a very fun show. – Julie Mitchell