RL Grime hypnotizes crowd

DJ Salem contributed to the show’s first opener. (credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager) DJ Salem contributed to the show’s first opener. (credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager)

AB Coffeehouse’s annual Halloween dance party featured electronic hip-hop artist RL Grime along with Sensitivity and Naan Naan, a DJ duo composed of senior business administration major and WRCT general manager Alex Price and School of Art alumnus and WRCT DJ Naeem Martinez-White. Despite taking some time to start, both the Carnegie Mellon DJ duo and RL Grime were successful in bringing Rangos to life.

This year’s party took place in Rangos Hall on Friday night and lasted from 8 p.m. to a bit after the planned 11 p.m. The original program featured L.A.-based glitch-hop DJ Shlohmo to perform with RL Grime, but Shlohmo cancelled his appearance in advance of Friday’s concert.

The party was free with Carnegie Mellon student ID and $10 without, but a quick look in Rangos confirmed that almost all attendees were students. Although the party was Halloween-themed, attempts to put this into effect were somewhat weak. A plastic skull filled with candy was the only sign of the holiday in sight.

After opening sets by DJ Salem (sophomore computer science major Salem Hilal) and DJ ReBase (junior information systems major Steve McQuaid), Sensitivity and Naan Naan presented back-to-back sets of deep, enchanting house music, occasionally lightened with a touch of more upbeat techno rhythms. The DJ set was accompanied by a truly mesmerizing laser show consisting of multicolored beams that shot through Rangos and danced around on the back wall to the rhythm of the techno house beats. The DJs themselves also contributed to the Halloween-based theme of the evening by sporting unidentifiable yet intimidating masks throughout their set.

Unfortunately, the first set wasn’t attended by many people. Through the first few songs, the dance floor was almost entirely empty and the few people that had already arrived lingered in the corners of the ballroom that the stage lights didn’t reach. However, this was not representative of the quality of the duo’s music, who put together an amazing show overall. The quality of the show was confirmed toward the end of the set, when the dance floor was occupied by more than 30 students, zombies, a mosh pit, and even a few Japanese anime characters.

Sensitivity and Naan Naan handed the stage over to RL Grime around 9:30 p.m. The Los Angeles-based DJ is known for his innovative approach to electronic music, marrying conventional electronic dance music with bass-driven hip-hop, a style often described as trap. Indeed, a change in frequency was obvious when RL Grime took the stage: His music’s gradual transformation in beats, culminating in floor-vibrating bass tones, was reminiscent of dubstep drops.

However, RL Grime’s music went a bit further than simple dubstep “wobble.” Drops were followed by loops from hip-hop songs with amplified bass, and beats were more disjointed. His music was more successful than the first set in bringing the audience to life, but this was also due to the fact that the audience had grown by this time. The musical experience could have only been amplified by a better sound system, which may have let listeners feel the music’s bass to its full extent.

RL Grime put on a great set: He controlled the crowd, making it hold its collective breath in anticipation of an arriving bass drop and completely let go in an animalistic fashion once the bass had spread. The quality of music provided by Sensitivity and Naan Naan and RL Grime in this year’s Halloween party was, without question, impeccable.

The party as a whole, however, could have been taken out of the typical concert mold. As a Halloween party and not simply a show, more effort toward the nonmusical aspects of the evening would have made Friday night a true Halloween experience. Such effort would not only have made the event more of an actual party than solely a concert, but it also might have attracted a larger audience.