The scene from A-Trak's house party last night at Rhinoceropolis: People were pushing, shirts were off, sweat was dripping to the ground like so many leaky faucets then rising from the beer soaked floor to form the most disgusting sauna you can imagine. The best moment of the show, which came during A-Track and DJ Green Latern's set, was a both rhythmically and cerebrally satisfying transition from the beat of Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By" to Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" to the Rolling Stone's "You Can't Always get What You Want." It is in moments like this when the postmodern potential of DJ blending is actualized and moves beyond dance fodder to art.
Before that high point, Flosstradamus kicked off the party and raised the energy level to what would be a consistently high benchmark for the night. Donnis helped by climbing on the DJ table over decks with little to no regard for property. While he stood at the focal point of the celebration, he led the audience in rousing dancing by example. Though the rapper did occasionally rap, for the most part, he acted as a glorified hype man, firing up the crowd and banging on the ceiling vents, which sounded a little like lo-fi gunshots and actually worked with the trap rap theme that dominated most of the night.
Overall, Flosstradamus was more than solid, sailing along from drop to drop with absolute control. Their control over the audience was demonstrated by the willingness of the audience to take off their shirts after the duo suggested it -- or maybe that was due to the insane heat. Either way, playing tracks like Luda's "What's Your Fantasy," Kanye's "Mercy" and their own excellent beat "Now You Do," which Donnis did rap over, had the crowd dancing like marionettes, but, you know, with more sweat. The speaker on the left side got unplugged somewhere along the way, but it didn't affect much.
All the while, A-Trak was sitting unassumingly in the back corner on his laptop, probably planning out his set. When he finally took center stage with the secret guest, the legendary DJ Green Lantern, it was already relatively late, and the crowd was more than ready, perhaps even over-primed. The energy level wasn't much greater than for the openers, if at all. To the untrained ear, the sets were mostly indistinguishable. That isn't to say that both sets weren't effective at making the everyone dance -- they were. They just happened to be equally good at making the audience dance.
But while Flosstradamus was expectantly in sync, the seamlessness with which Green Lantern and A-Trak transitioned between each other was even more impressive. At first, the two DJs worked simultaneously, and it was difficult to tell who was controlling what at any given time. They managed themselves remarkably to produce a single, cohesive, nonstop groove. Later in the set, they started to take turns, but were equally coordinated. Look away one moment and boom! The other DJ was suddenly on with no awkward transitions.
In totality, the show was a barrage of carefree dance music that kept the evening loose and light with the occasional nostalgic rap tune peppered in to keep the audience coherent and responsive. Ninety percent of the lyrics were hooks, which makes sense because those are the most danceable bits, but it was also somewhat wearisome. Where most shows have predictable lows and highs, this show had highs and extreme highs. It is also the unfortunate reason, and only justifiable context, for "Hard in Da Paint" getting better treatment than "The Message."
The show ended with a marathon of hip-hop bangers: "Big Pimpin'," "Never Scared," the remix of "I Don't Like" and "Birthday Song." Then A-Track thanked everyone for coming out, including his gracious hosts at Rhino, while playing around with some vocal effects. The crowd had been slowly diminishing for the past hour, and, finally, despite assurances that the party was not over and that Hollagramz was next, the party was indeed over, and it was time to go home. Overall, it was a fun, sweaty and extremely tiring night.
Personal Bias: I'm mostly ignorant to the EDM scene if it's not closely related to rap, so I had heard of Flosstradamus from their work with A-1, and before the show I realized Danny Brown had played one of his A-Trak songs, "Piss Test" (better than it sounds), at last Monday's A$AP Rocky show at the Ogden.
Random Detail: The evening began underwhelmingly with a crowd forming outside the venue several hours before the doors opened only to discover that the price of the show was actually $10 instead of $5 as we had been told.
By The Way: It's a good thing my epilepsy is controlled or I would have been in serious trouble.