Laurel Halo takes the stage in an oversized black tee and half acid washed jeans. Three bros rush to the guard rail at the front. Laurel Hal-bros are not to be disappointed. Drawing on the material before and after her 2012 album, Quaristice, she played a set that didn’t really defy your expectations of straight forward rhythm, as much as it took those expectations, locked them in the pantry and proceeded to have an occult dance party outside the door. “I like her pajamas,” said a friend near the end of her set, but to me Laurel Halo looked like a druid. Marshmallow synths, tribal low end, shrill feedback, double double toil and wobbles. A truly trippy seance.
John Talabot seemed more interested intent on exploring the wilderness around the cult worshipping Laurel Halo was doing. This made for more bird sounds. Big synth bass and two chord progressions whipped the crowd into a frenzy but struck me as too straight. It’s possible I was still in the spirit realm after the last set. I opted for ghoulish beatsmith Nosaj Thing instead.
Those kick drums don’t let up. It’s like this: Nosaj is playing Tekken at an arcade. Every punch is a wallop of sub bass. The jabs are snare drums. You are a punching bag for this. Swift and deft behind a flat-brim and a laptop, Nosaj Thing often seems possessed by the ghost of the 32nd note–twisting and tearing wormholes into the atmospheres of his productions. The spirit of boom bap is alive and well, but it’s grafted onto the body of its descendants. Distant cousins of dubstep basses erupt over intricate drum patterns, then to be tempered by ominous melody. It’s no surprise why this guy was tapped by Flying Lotus as one to watch–and that made it all the more special when he dropped Getting There off of Until the Quiet Comes. The crowd flipped, and in the space between the beats, they went “WOO.”
One more night/day to cover the shows–stay tuned!