A lot of people hear the names Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen and on their own, may not know who they are or the things they've accomplished over the last 14 years. However, when fans hear the names of acts in EDM such as Pendulum or Knife Party, their ears suddenly perk up. Swire and McGrillen are the masterminds behind both groups, and over the past decade and a half they have been consistently bringing some of the best tunes and live performances in all of dance music. With their original group of Pendulum ending in 2011, the last five years of their careers have been dedicated to Knife Party, and they seem to be a force that can't be stopped. This year they headlined Ultra Music Festival and in past years have headlined EDC and many other major events.
Philadelphia's electronic music fans were lucky enough to have the duo in their city on Friday night when the most recent popular venue District N9ne hosted them along with some great local talent.
We arrived at the venue at about 10pm, and walked in to the sounds of local talent Sweet Teeth who has been making his mark on the city in recent months. Hearing his productions in the past, we knew we were in for some heavy music to start the night, and found a good spot in the crowd. Sweet Teeth took us on a journey through not only the style of trap music that he produces, but also some sweet dubstep that had the crowd moving to no end. The combination of the two genres was very well done, and Sweet Teeth's ability to showcase some music that we do not normally hear played out at clubs was very refreshing. We loved his performance and can't wait to see where he goes in the upcoming future.
Next up was Evan Riley, a local producer and DJ from South Philly who has been making a major splash not only in Philly's nightlife, but also with producers and promoters across the east coast. Coming off his most recent performance alongside Diplo in Washington D.C., Riley was ready to take the decks and play for his home crowd. His set featured a showcase of tracks from all different genres ranging from future bass, to dubstep, to hard trap, and much more. His ability to mix is uncanny, and reading a crowd has become a speciality of his over the last year and a half he has been producer and playing. As usual, the Philly crowd tipped their hats to Riley by getting down with him as if he was the headliner, and giving him tons of love throughout the set. He warmed up the crowd perfectly, and we can't wait for the day that we get to see him on the headlining slot in his own city.
As the lights dimmed the crowd began to lose their minds. The time was finally here, and on stage walked up a shadowy figure who looked prepared to slay the fans that lay in front of him. We were surprised to see just Gareth on stage, and later found out that Rob was in England working on music for the group. Nevertheless, we knew the half of the duo that was present could handle the duties on stage. Over the next ninety minutes, the overwhelming majority of music fans in Philly were reintroduced to electro house. With Philly being a major capital for bass music, house of all kinds can seem to fall through the cracks, but tonight it was the focus. Captivating the crowd, McGrillen threw down the perfect mixture of originals, remixes, and outside music not produced by the group. One thing we noticed about this set was that the newly popular genre of bass house had a front seat in the set list, and seemed to fit well with Knife Party's style of harder house hits. Another surprise that we loved was that local producer Subtronics had his remix of Thief that he made with New York City producer Bailo played out by the headliner. Fans recognized the local love and lost their minds more than they had throughout the majority of the rest of the set. With the crowd losing their minds the whole time, that song sticking out meant something very special to the city.
All in all it was a fantastic night of music, and the madness of what was being played was easily matched by the fans present. Thanks to all the artists and to District N9ne for throwing the show!