Saturday, March 4th
10:15pm – 2:00am
The Black Box
As I stepped out of the car and onto the cracked pavement outside of The Black Box, I immediately knew that I would be in for a treat. A line extended from the front entrance of the venue and wrapped around into the parking lot of the Domino’s pizza located right next door. Looking up and down the line, I could easily pick out people decked out in Truth beanies, Grassroots Hats, 20/20 shirts and Bassnectar hoodies. I sparked up conversations with various people throughout the line, and everyone was friendly, willing to chat and had no problem waiting in line. It always sucks waiting with a bunch of complainers.
Upon entering the venue, the bass bad-woman Maggie Despise aka Despise was working up the crowd with progressions of juke, jungle, and drum & bass tracks. The co-founder of Recon D&B, Maggie has been honing her craft for the last 15 years and is truly a sight to watch when on the decks. Be on the lookout for future Recon DnB shows, notably Slick Shoota coming to the Black Box on 3/18
Next up on stage were Halogenix and Stray of the North London based trio Ivy Lab. Spearheading the label 20/20 London, Ivy Lab have a their solo Fortuna EP, a collaborative Arkestra EP with Alix Perez and tracks on 20/20 volumes one & two. Many tracks from these projects burst through the speakers, in addition their new track Peninsula and bangers from other artists. Stray and Halogenix bounced back and forth, mutating bass lines, throwing in bubbly synths, airy boom-bap beats, saxophone melodies, and head knockin kicks. If I could put their style in a box, I would call it experimental hip-hoppy bass music. Towards the end of the set they amp everyone up with the statement that they’ve been all around and this crowd is some real crazy shit. One of my favorite parts of the set was when one fan walked through the crowd with a Domino’s pizza held high above his head, only to settle down near the front and eat the whole thing slice by slice.
When Shades (aka EPROM and Alix Perez ) stepped onto the stage the entire crowd erupted. Everyone knew they were about to get into some real heavy experimental shit. That’s exactly what happened. The best way I can describe it is as thick walls of distorted bass waves slapping you in the face as your body looses control and spazzes across the dancefloor. EPROM and Alix Perez would take turns on the mixer as the other played in samples from Ableton, seamlessly working together to morph between amorphous sounds. They were deeply focused on their performance but didn’t forget to have a little fun on stage. They played all songs off their self-titled EP, a bouncy remix of Drop by Rich Boy, some unreleased tracks, their remix of Danny Brown’s Lie4, Eprom’s Hurricane and much more. Accompanying the performance was a static based visual display, contorting between trippy light flares, geometric shapes. At the end of the show they shared Ivy Lab’s sentiment that Denver throws the fuck down and asked everyone to show some love for Sub.Mission and The Black Box. Much love indeed.
A night at the Black Box is always worthwhile. Just make sure you’re ready for some next level body twitchin’ beats. Check out their upcoming event calendar here.
Shades & Ivy Lab Review
Written by Hunter Saillen
Photos by JV Photography