Written by: Alvi B AlviB@undrgrndsound.com
As summer approaches, you’d expect shows to be more crowded with everyone enjoying a night out on the town and attending events since they don’t have to troop around in the cold weather any more. But the most recent show I attended at Webster Hall for Girls & Boys was definitely different from most shows I’ve attended at there so far. Last Friday, Webster Hall presented the Watts Up Tour featuring Bay Area’s dubstep duo Helicopter Showdown, North Carolina’s up and coming group Clicks and Whistles with a very innovative style, and trap heavyweight and currently conquering the trap scene, the headliner for the night all the way from San Francisco, it was Antiserum.
I’m very accustomed to seeing the famous grand ballroom of Webster completely packed out, from the dance floor to the top mezzanines usually crowded to the point where you can’t move. Although some love and enjoy a sold out show and the vibe of a sold out show is definitely unmatchable I can agree, but in my opinion it’s hard to enjoy a show while you’re getting elbowed in the face during half of the show by people around you. That’s why I absolutely loved the crowd for this show; it was the perfect amount of people. It wasn’t packed to the point where you couldn’t breathe, but it had enough people so you didn’t feel like it was completely empty. Just enough people on the floor to create a nice crowd, and much more than enough room to dance.
CLICKS and WHISTLES
You had to have enough room to dance, because up first on the decks for this tour was Clicks and Whistles. Clicks and Whistles was considerably the most intriguing act of the night in my opinion. The production and DJ style is so different from what everyone is doing currently in the electronic scene; it’s great to see artists trying to keep it fresh and different from the hype and allowing themselves to not give in to the pressure to follow a certain scene or genre. Most DJ’s I’ve seen these days usually do the same thing for the genre they play, play the top 40 tracks from that genre at the moment, but not Clicks and Whistles. Bringing a set to the stage with tracks that were almost impossible to ID for me, it was amazing to hear new sounds and new songs I’ve never heard or would ever be able to find, being only able to label their style as “Future Bass”. The song selections contained blends from all elements of music, from heavy samples of classic rap songs, to new age trap, mixed with some drum & bass, and even touching upon slow R&B rhythms. One of the few tracks I was able to ID was their most recent song, UZ – Trap Shit √13 (Clicks & Whistles Remix), but the track that had me excited was a track from one of the most talked about producers in the scene at the moment, Cashmere Cat. Clicks and Whistles dropped Cashmere Cat’s newest Miguel remix “Do You…” In my opinion this song was the perfect way to describe Clicks and Whistle’s overall set. A song with smooth R&B vocals, setting off the perfect vibe to dance with your girl or just take a second to embrace the moment and music while faint kicks phase in to get you ready to dance to a drop with subtle melodic synths along with heavy kicks and the rolls of hi-hats that can’t help but move your hips. The set felt very cinematic and deep, with no errors in mixing and smooth transitions through the entire hour, Clicks and Whistles set the night off perfectly for New York City.
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Before it was time for Antiserum to take the stage as the headliner for the night, I was able to talk to him for a bit before his set. With smiles and a humbling personality, Antiserum seemed anxious to hit the decks and rock the crowd. But it was almost as if I met Mikey (aka Antiserum) before the set, and when he went to the CDJs, the persona of Antiserum took over. Those smiles turned into a face that looked like he was ready for business and ready to show New York City how Antiserum gets down. If you’ve seen any trap artists recently, or heard any of their sets, it usually contains an Antiserum track. The man knows how to design tracks that impacts the crowd like no other artist in the trap scene at the moment. He’s collaborated with big artists like 12th planet and receiving support from headlining DJs like Skrillex, Diplo, Datsik, and Flux Pavillion, as well as artists on the rise and taking over like Bro Safari, ETC!ETC, Brillz, and Mayhem. Antiserum started off the night with one of his recent tracks with Mayhem called “Bangladesh” released on Datsik’s record label Firepower. This was a song that pretty much described how the night was to go; the song starts off with a cinematic trap introduction with vocal samples, giving the crowd the trap affect. While giving you that hip-hop influence, the song breaks down in the middle to a 4/4 hard kick that pumps you up for dancing and jumping at 140bpm, so that means those are some fast kicks amplifying the entire venue. While the kicks pumped you up the song slowly transitions into that hard trap synth that Antiserum is has been famous for, a sound design crafted with perfect reverb so well that it blends with any sound system to hit the venue with absolute force, all while you still dance.
I was actually able to ID a good amount of tracks from his set, considering he knew to drop the heaviest trap songs in the scene at the moment. Playing songs like Bro Safari – That Ass, Flosstradamus – Underground Anthem, UFO – It’s a Trap, Ree$e – Molly (LOUDPVCK Remix), Major Lazer feat. Flux Pavillion – Jah No Partial (Heroes X Villains Remix), The Partysquad – Go Down Low (Luminox Remix) and a hand full of others. Through the set you were able to hear his love for hip-hop since hip-hop vocals and samples cut in and out through the entire set, so hip-hop fans & EDM fans, all around enjoyed his set. But the song that had me most interested was his outro song, he announced it was a brand new song with Brillz that he produced which is unreleased, so I’m very excited for that song to release because for the outro, whatever energy the crowd had left for Antiserum they exploded with it and vibed out till the set finished. A man that used build-ups, perfect transitions, and well executed cues and proper song selections, Antiserum gave NYC a party and an epic show for the fans.
Helicopter Showdown was up next and boy-oh-boy what as an energetic set. I’m not usually a huge fan of Helicopter Showdown, but they knew how to get a crowd raging at 4am their hardest at 4am. If you don’t know Helicopter Showdown, they don’t follow the regular dubstep genre or use subtle synths, they’re all about the bro-step. Equipped with an arsenal of heavy sound design, Helicopter Showdown hit NYC with an impactful set full. I wasn’t able to ID a lot of their tracks, but the tracks I was able to ID was Porter Robinson – Spitfire (Kill The Noise Remix) which he used for the intro, and he dropped Killagraham – Clowns (Milo & Otis Unoriginal Mix) at a point in the night. Most of the songs kept to the heavy bro-step genre, but he transitioned around to some drum & bass with a little bit of trap into the set as well hence he dropped the Milo & Otis Unoriginal mix of Clowns. Although this wasn’t my type of dubstep that I usually listen to, you have to respect an artist that knows how to work a crowd and DJ properly when the results are right in front of you. One thing I was able to distinguish about Helicopter Showdown’s DJ style was the fact that he barely used builds up. A style I’ve seen with very few DJ’s, instead of using every build up from a song, he switches from drop to drop to drop and giving his set the element of impact or as the kids would say “straight bass in your face”. A set I very much still enjoyed, especially with all the room you had to dance and rage, it was over-all a great night at Webster Hall and very different from their regular crowds & shows. As always, Girls & Boys events know how to hold it down with a great roster of artists for their stage!