Close your eyes for a second. Imagine yourself somewhere in the back alleys of Philadelphia. You stumble upon a line stretching around the block filled with eager looking people dressed in strange outfits. They seem more excited than you could ever imagine, as they wait patiently to get inside of a mysterious building with a sign that reads District N9ne. From inside, you hear pumping basslines and loud screeches, that seem to have come from a different planet. You look up at the sky and all around you, trying to make sure you haven't transported into a different dimension, and at this point you aren't really sure where you are. You walk inside to find a dancefloor filled with creatures, thrashing their heads around in complete synchronization. You look up to see three men on stage, controlling the sounds with knobs, buttons, and all sorts of other equipment. The lights flash in your eyes and you become disoriented. Where the hell are you and what have you stumbled upon?
The only way to answer that question is with two words: Dubstep Heaven. Thanks to promotion companies Catharsis Collective, University EDM, and EDM Entertainment, Philadelphia was brought to a land full of sweat and grime on Saturday night. Celebrating Catharsis Collective's two year anniversary of their founding, the lineup was jam packed with some of the heaviest up and coming hitters in bass music. Up first on the decks was the man behind the infamous Megachop, Squnto. Squnto ripped the crowd apart from his first drop and had all attendees whether they were familiar with his music before the show or not going absolutely mental. His ability to mix smoothly, coupled with his ability to double, triple, and sometimes even quadruple drop tracks pushed concert goers to their edge, leaving no room for survivors. One thing we loved about his dragon drops was that he did not stick in only one era, or style of dubstep in his song selections. Songs from all over the dubstep map and timeline were mashed together, with a heavy influence of riddim, the community Squnto formally belongs to. We had a blast and couldn't believe we still had two more stellar acts to go before the end of the night, but we locked out feet in and prepared for the ride.
Up next was our favorite set of the night, and arguably one of the better dubstep sets we've seen all year. Spag Heddy took the stage to cheers and roars from the audience who were ready to get covered in massive amounts of spaghetti bass. With his recent releases and work with Never Say Die Records, we expected a large amount of the record label's music to be the staples of Spag's set, and we were not mistaken. Taking his originals, huge hits from the label, as well as the sub label that is related to Never Say Die, it's Black Label, Spag laid down an onslaught of brain melting sentiments that struck a huge chord with the crowd in Philly. While Spag stayed away from many of his more melodic originals, the crowd couldn't get enough of what he was dropping. We could not have more positive things to say about Spag, he truly is a future superstar in this genre. He's already impressed up so heavily and we have a feeling he will be heading to the top a lot faster and sooner than many expect.
Finally, it was time for the headlining slot of the night. Catharsis resident artist, and bass creature hailing from below the filthiest bridge Trollphace took the decks ready to unleash his specified brand of bass music, Unfortunately, we were not extremely impressed with Trollphace on this night. The openers had set the bar so incredibly high, that the headlining set was fairly underwhelming. We know Trollphace for his bouncy sets filled with grimey bass, but tonight we got a set more along the lines of trap than dubstep. There was still a fair amount of dub played, but we were also distracted heavily by his mixing, which was sub par at best. This set came as a shock to us, as we have seen Trollphace many times in the past, and he has yet to disappoint. We knock this set to an off night, as Trollphace did arrive minutes before his set as he was dealing with airport issues for hours before the set. We watched as he brought his suitcase on stage with him, and despite some rough transitions and out of character song selections, we still got down with him for the headlining slot.
We left the venue extremely pleased as well as extremely exhausted. Feeling hopeful about the future of dubstep, we can't wait to see Spag and Squnto on stage again. As for Trollphace, we know he will blow us away again the next time he stops in our city. It takes a certain kind of talent and understanding of music to produce the type of music Trollphace does, and while that may have slightly failed him on Saturday night, it rarely will going forward we believe. Thanks again to all the companies that put on the show, and Distrcit N9ne for another awesome night out on the town!