NGHTMRE Before Xmas with Valentino Khan & Ephwurd

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NGHTMRE and Valentino. Yes, it sounds like a hipster version of the Hardy Boys. NGHTMRE and Valentino take the streets to uphold honor and freedom for the city! But for this Saturday night, they were there to rain down Jack Skellington visuals, true Trap Bass and just a touch of uplifted House style. For the NGHTMRE Before Xmas tour before his spots at festivals like OMFG!NYE in San Diego, Holy Ship or Ultra in Florida, NGHTMARE brought his pyrotechnic energy to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Two days after the sudden passing of San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee, the marquee honored his life, the city hall across the plaza was drowned in flowers and candles, and an eclectic group rushed through the doors for the night of merriment, trap style.

Ehpwurd did amazing, linking songs everyone knew without playing the same “if you ain’t taking shots get the F out the club” sample. They followed Smash Mouth’s “All Star” with R. Kelly’s “Ignition”, sprinkled in with some of their Canadian-American house, and properly delivered the bubbling product of DJs duo Datsik and Bais Haus. Fellow ravers shuffled around the slicked floors and their La Croix style visuals stared us down.

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Valentino Khan threw up some jungle vibes and damn did he feel his music, standing behind the LED throne with his mustache pinched into a thizz face and this fists rocketing towards the clouds. Infamous for the house number “Deep Down Low”, Khan started by sampling old-school hip hop, progressed to piano, and then graduated into EDM when he heard tracks by Justice. He likes music, so he makes music, saying he doesn’t “necessarily overthink what types of reactions I can elicit from an audience. I just want to make dope stuff. I can be inspired by one small sound, and I already know where the rest of the track is going to go from there. . .I just want to make stuff that pushes music forward.” (interview with Phoenix New Times). And he stands by his ‘this is all for fun’ mantra, as DJs like Flosstradamus and Dillon Francis request remixes from his EDM-fluent mind. The crowd loved his beats, and Khan was obviously enjoying his time on stage; more than I’ve seen most do.

Headliner NGHTMRE released his EP ‘Mad Decent’ in May 2016 and is building a stage for himself after collaborations with Slander, noticeable remixes and spots at an ever-growing number of events. And while I may find some all-too-trendy aspects of the DJ (his vowel-free stage name, his EP’s intro song of unrelated piano interlude, and his repetitive use of some top 40 samples), he put on a good set. Pyrotechnics and all. Check out the future bass of “Hold me Close” or heavy “Touch” for a show of his musical blend that works for the shufflers, the headbangers and the dirty dancers of a crowd. Odd thing is, these tracks are 3rd and 4th, respectively, on his ‘Mad Decent’ album. Followed by the breathy, lyrical style of ‘Holdin’ Onto Me”. And my favorite track? “Get Back” is a dirty, aggressive bass riddled one-two punch. Little sense of continuity can be found here, and while switching up energies at the show could work well to please the dynamic EDM crowd, it seems he is still sifting through styles and playing with who he can be as a DJ. Regardless, the NGHTMRE Before Xmas was a beautiful evening of Jack Skellington visuals, dynamic beats and some epic sing-alongs with a stadium full of wide-eyed, open hearted ravers. My kind of night.

Review and Photography by Megan T.

Categories: Live Music

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