With funky vibrations pulsating from The Opiuo Band’s live instruments, Webster Hall shook with energy, ricocheting from a floor of wild fans to the balcony on Friday, June 12th. Around 2:30AM, bouncers started herding everyone out the door shouting “Move! Everyone out now!” With a look of confusion across the crowd’s face, a Webster employee came to the stage, “May I have your attention- there are 40 FDNY members in the building right now telling me we have to evacuate.” With broken hearts, ragers sulked out the Grand Ballroom and down the stairs- not without starting a communal chant “The roof! The roof is on fire!”
Fire trucks lined East 11th street and a swarm of people loitered around, anxiously waiting to find out more details about cause of the chaos. Apparently, an electrical fire in a back office was the genesis of the night’s commotion, but before all this craziness took place, the Grand Ballroom started metaphorical “sparks” of its own, courtesy of Hucci’s bass-driven trap beats and Opiuo’s signature glitch hop sounds– so let’s backtrack.
Brighton-born producer, Ollie O’Neil, otherwise known as Hucci, made his Webster debut with a sea of fans at his feet chanting “OLLIE OLLIE HUCCI,” awaiting to be immersed in a set of chest-vibrating bass and elbow-pumping trap– and Hucci wasted no time delivering the crowd exactly what they wanted.
What makes Hucci such a unique young talent in the trap community is his iconic ability to bring a dark, almost eerie element to trap production, which would otherwise put most people in a party mood. Hucci perfects this style by incorporating deep and sinister basslines that stir the soul, almost as if this Brit created a soundtrack for Hogwarts’ Forbidden Forrest. With a light show kicking off with trippy visuals, reminiscent of Woodstock ’69, Hucci threw the crowd into a trap whirlwind when he dropped “Mula.”
Other classic trap and bass favorites thrown in included “Chinchilla” by Jackal, “Les Djinns” by Mr. Carmack, and Skrillex’s “Make It Bun Dem.” To keep the crowd on their toes, Hucci would often start playing a track then have a spazz-attack on the turntable to mix it up, only proving how insanely talented he is as both a producer and DJ.
In a sexy twist, a hula-hoopstress joined Hucci on stage and began swinging around her electric hoop, creating dazzling patterns of checkerboards, skulls and other intricate designs– definitely an upgrade form your preschool Fisher Price hula-hoop.
With ribbons of hula-hoop light traveling around the stage, Hucci switched the mood of his set and began to play more songs of his original production, including crowd favorites like “Showing Off,” featuring Dvnny Seth and Kayo, and “Wings.”
How do you make a traptastic set even better? Hucci mixed Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” with the quintessential trap hymn: “Core” by RL Grime. How crazy did the crowd go you might ask? Well, the floor erupted into a collective mosh pit and massive sing-along. After closing his set with Kanye’s “All Day” and one of his most popular tracks, “House Party,” he graciously came to the front row of the crowd to take pictures with fans, like a true (or should I say “truuu”) trap lord, blessing his devoted followers.
Oh and the fun didn’t stop there. The Opiuo Band was next on deck, complete with drums, guitar, tambourine, saxophone, synth keyboard and a live singer. New Zealand- born Opiuo has been on his “Opiuo Band North American Tour” this summer, bringing cities live accompaniment coupled with his incredible production and DJ talent.
The set brought out both the funk and the weird in every crowd member, reminding me why there is no better place to attend an EDM show than New York. From the balcony I saw one guy even bring a towel with a portrait of “The Rock” to wave around… for no clear reason…
Clearly, the best part about New York is that people will get monumentally weird at shows before you can say “Dwayne Johnson, Paper, Scissors, Shoot!” Opiuo’s light show consisted of abstract geometric images, reminiscent of his album art for “Meraki” and his “Meraki Remixed” releases. Some of the favorite songs of the night included a funky cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Opiuo’s remix of The McMash Clan’s “Swing Break” and a cover of Ray Charles’s “Let The Good Times Roll.”
This glitch hop mania would have extended into the early hours of the morning… but the night was ended abruptly. However, Webster came through for all Girls & Boys attendees and accommodated club-goers by offering free admission to their sister venue, Slake. Much love, Webster!
Stay weird my fellow ragers!
-Liz Tillman for EDM NYC