By Kamila Daurenova, Contributing Writer
Last Saturday, Webster Hall’s legendary Grand Ballroom was home to an electronic lineup like no other. The iconic music venue teamed up with NYC-based indie music curators IRL Music for the North American fall tour of British electronic duo “Snakehips.”
As soon as the doors opened, IRL Music’s producers were onstage, getting the audience pumped for the show. First came Pluto, a 16-year-old producer whose last three releases have had support from The Chainsmokers, Trap Nation and MrSuicideSheep. Next up was White Cliffs, instantly noteworthy for their experimental sound and incorporation of reggae, trap and world genres.
White Cliffs was followed by LAKIM, an electronic producer from Virginia joining the band for their tour. His blend of dance and hip-hop felt new and special but seemed to lack energy, as the crowd stood and listened to his music calmly. His focus and determination behind the table definitely paid off in his music, but it also made him feel somewhat isolated from the crowd.
Snakehips came onstage to a roaring applause. Comprised of musicians Oliver Lee and James Carter, the London-based electronic duo met in Hong Kong during the summer of 2012 while working on separate projects at Sake Bar Ginn. Building their career on remixes of pop and R&B songs, they became known for their synthesis of rap, electronic and R&B genres.
The duo stood behind a table with “SNAKEHIPS” in bright shining letters that the crowd went crazy for. Projections on the screen behind them displayed blossoming cherry branches, hieroglyphs and outtakes from their music videos. While their music is rooted in the house genre, the duo brings together aspects of newfound jazz, disco and hip hop to create a sound that brings audiences to their feet with its lightness and joviality.
Zayn’s “Cruel” felt especially appropriate for the pre-election tension, as he sang of a “venus in converse” that beams light into his life despite the dark, violent news of the world. American neo soul duo Lion Babe came on stage for a surprise performance of “Treat Me Like Fire,” the song that got them signed with Interscope Records. The energy from Jillian Hervey was one of the highlights of the night; her soulful style of singing and amazing stage presence left everyone in the audience dancing along.
“All My Friends,” the song that brought them meteoric success, was an obvious choice for a closer might have worked even better at the start of the show. While every song was received with enthusiasm, shouts of “When are they playing it?” were heard in moments of silence. Nonetheless, the down-tempo track was worth the wait, as everyone is the hall chanted and pumped their fists to the reduced hip-hop beat. Experiencing this amazing set at Webster Hall made it even more memorable. With every jump the crowd made, the floors would actually bounce, something that only happens when there’s a big enough crowd, leaving every audience member in a state of excitement and childish joy.