I was super excited to attend this show because I love lofi and future bass. Before this show got announced, I’d never heard of the other artists before, other than Sweater Beats. I’d decided to check Vincent and yetep out on Spotify earlier that day. I’m late to the game, I know, but I just got Spotify recently and I gotta say, I’m lovin’ every minute of it. I was really diggin’ Vincent and yetep’s music, and it got me super pumped for the night.
Monarch was pleasantly roomy and spacious, for once. All my past experiences with it had been pretty unpleasant. Normally the shows there are sold-out and often, packed to the brim full of sticky, sweaty people and a severe lack of ventilation. This time, however it was semi-packed and there was lots of dancing room, to my delight. Some people wore ugly sweaters and were well-lit up with festive Christmas lights (one lady even wore them as her twinkling earrings), while some, like me, were in regular clothes. In my defense, I was caught unprepared and didn’t have an ugly sweater.
I’d arrived just in time for yetep’s set. In his unassuming black hoodie and cap, he seemed like he was enjoying himself hugely. His music was future bass, and it got me super excited because he played some really amazing tracks of his that I’d heard earlier. Some of his songs had soft, dreamy vocals that led up to powerful, bassy drops, with the familiar ‘shimmering-light’ trait of future bass music that I knew and loved. A lot of future bass music often begins with a sweet swell of music that leads to a steady drumbeat, gradually increasing in build as it goes along.
I was standing at the 18+ section, not because I was of that age, but because there was more dancing room. And I gotta say the crowd around me (save for a select few) were very respectful and seemed to be enjoying the music just as much as me. I loved the visual and lights setup, and the sound levels were well-adjusted to suit the artists (Mind you, I’d remembered to wear my earplugs this time, for once—and I DO have old-lady ears—most events seem overly-loud to me). I stood near the speakers at one point, big mistake, because I could literally feel the bass reverberating in my eardrums. It, quite literally, blew me away. Needless to say, I moved back to my comfortable spot in the back where I could bop around to my heart’s content.
Sweater Beats played after yetep, a charming figure in black-rimmed glasses, shoulder-length wavy hair, white tee and light-wash denim jacket. He had such an energy about him that the crowd loved and followed along with. He played a good variety of music—I even caught a little bit of drum n’ bass—and even threw in some good ole’ throwback hits’ remixes for good measure. There was a sprinkling of lofi in here and there too, to my delight.
The crowd went wild when he brought out his electric guitar, as he went ham on some popular songs with his own unique flavor. His set was so diverse: a glorious blend of dance, syth-pop and RnB with eclectic-styled notes and textures. He didn’t seem the least bit shy, conversing often with the crowd, and at one point, he and his team passed out donuts into the crowd (Krispy Kreme glazed, no less! My favorite!). As I munched on one, I watched in amusement and slight horror as a drunk girl far opposite me grabbed some and threw em at at the dj and the stage.
PSA: Never throw food at the stage or at the musicians. That’s a surefire way to get yourself kicked out. Also it’s just not etiquette.
Vincent played to cap off the night, and the event’s Facebook described this as ‘the Phoenix debut of a rising star.’ Watching Vincent perform, I was inclined to agree. Vincent played a lot of trap, future bass and a bunch of everything in between. I was in seventh heaven. Vincent had a very avant-garde sound, his high-energy set was the perfect end to the night. Definitely an artist to watch. Even yetep and Sweater Beats jumped on his set at some point, and it was one of the most epic b2bs I’d ever witness. Each artist has their own unique style that complemented the other.
Future bass has a very special place in my heart, ever since I was introduced to it by my friend Sean. Some of the best shows I’d experienced in my life were future bass sets: San Holo, Point Point, to name a few. I love house music, but I think future bass is my absolute favorite. It’s a genre that manages to take you on a journey: from soft, sweet melodies to dirty, grimy, bassy beats. It can be music that makes you feel like you’re gliding around in a dream and in the next minute, make you scrunch your face to the grungy underground sounds.
Jamming out to the music, dancing in happiness while around me share the same joy on their faces, is really one of the best feelings in the world. One part of the night, stuck out especially to me. One of the djs played a Paramore song ‘Misery Business’ and my inner emo-rock child emerged from the past, as I sang the lyrics at the top of my lungs. I glanced over to the 21+ side, there were some girls singing the lyrics too, and we all mouthed the lyrics joyously at each other. This was definitely a moment I will always remember.
I’m excited to see what grows from events such as these. Arizona has been diversifying its sounds of late, with events like Hard Holiday and even this one, branching out from the familiar bass music/house music/techno genres. Our state is so rich with potential for all kinds of music, with so many dope venues to choose from. I hope there will be more lofi/future bass events in 2019, because you can bet your ass I will be at every single one.
Robot Island, a new entertainment venture founded by 26-year-old Anik Chakder and 29-year-old Sam Pingree, is poised to bring vibrant and exciting new musical acts to Arizona. Chakder, who’s a longtime friend of mine since my ASU/Mill-rat days, shows a passion for bringing people together for the love of music.
It’s what we’re all about—seeing people fall in love and enjoy the artists we bring is what we aim to do,” He said.
I asked him what was their brand motto, and the answer was an unusual one: “in the island we trust.”
When asked what he meant by that, he responded,
“It basically means we’re always going to put on artists we believe in and curate lineups that we have our hearts in—not just because it’s ‘cool’ or ‘in.’ And we want our community to trust us in that process.”
Their debut event was what I considered a great success; it was extremely well-run and the artists they brought threw on an amazing show. I left with my heart brimming with happiness. It reminded me again how special future bass music is to me, and how it always will be.
All photos (except the first one, which was from Google) taken by Arthur Parra.
About the author:
Singer at Drip Drop Records. Writer/Editor for Rave Hard Radio.
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