Last night, amidst storm clouds and persistent rainfall, DJ Muggs stopped by Cervantes' for the Royal Family Ball and laid down an impressive display of turntablism. Unfortunately, the rain must have inspired some potential show-goers to stay inside. Their loss. Following the openers, Muggs reminded us why we all used to get down so hard to Cypress Hill's sound -- or still do.
The doors to Cervantes opened at 8 p.m. last night, but probably could've waited until 10 p.m. That's when people started showing up for the show. Openers, Coult 45 and Seied played some relatively unenthusiastic sets, so much so that they were just letting their loops play while they walked around and talked to people around the stage. An empty room probably isn't fun to play to, but if you're going to play a half-ass set and act like you don't care, so goes my attention span. I played Fruit Ninja for the duration of Seied.
Things didn't really get going until Deemster took over the stage, and then it went off. On one track he sampled a deep voice spitting something sounding like "moon razor," and the Ballroom blew up. One common theme in all of his tracks was that he would drop a lyrical sample of some kind right before the bass drop. It was almost predictable, except for knowing what sample was going to be used. Regardless, Deemster blasted some life into everyone and set the pace for the remainder of the evening.
Minnesota followed Deemster's set and came out with something totally unexpected. So unexpected, it had me actually considering the shelf life of songs in the remix arena these days. Opening with Adele's new hit, "Rolling in the Deep," the Ballroom absolutely erupted. The track was sped up and laid over a bass beat, but still had hugging girls and their boyfriends mouthing along. It wasn't until about two minutes into the track that I think everyone realized they were attempting to rage to Adele, and then everyone just kind of looked perplexed.
The song is catchy, and Adele is a very talented singer in her own right, but is it too soon to be sampling something like that? What is the shelf life of songs nowadays? Can we expect that every YouTube phenom, every radio Top 40 jam and every song at the top of iTunes best seller list will eventually get sampled? It's happening faster and faster that it almost seems like a dubstep remix comes out in conjunction with the single release.
Minnesota had some dancers on stage with him swaying hips on both sides. Adele's sample had me real confused about music for the next fifteen minutes or so, mainly because I wasn't sure if it was okay to like the song or not: Here's a diva singing about the pain from a break-up, and here we all were dubsteppin' along to the track because of the grimy gurgle of bass that drops at the chorus.
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DJ Muggs came up following Minnesota, showing off his vinyl flipping skills right from the get-go. Tonight was advertised as an exclusive dubstep set, and Muggs came hard in paint (if DJs can sample lyrics - so can I).
Muggs has been spinning for Cypress Hill -- which I half expected to hear, but was delightfully surprised when it was avoided and replaced with some older hip-hop cuts, like "The Next Episode." Between glancing at his computer screen and letting the bass hit, Muggs would show off his skills on the tables, which is always a welcomed in an era when everyone else is busy knob-twisting and midi-looping.
Ultimately, I think the weather won last night. The Ballroom never really filled up. DJ Muggs didn't care about this at all, though, and played like there were two thousand people in front of him. His energy was contagious and his impressive showmanship on stage definitely left me wanting more.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias:Deemster was the highlight. He was raging like it was the rapture or something. Oh wait... Random Detail:The Otherside was live jazz with Rubblebucket and Filthy Children, both of whom provided a chill breeze of funk as opposed to the thunderstorm of bass next door.