Concert Review: OWSLA Label Showcase at Slake

Sunday night, as you all know, was the Oscars (and a memorable one at that!). I, however, am not really a movie person and I had seen a record breaking ZERO Oscar-nominated movies this time around. So I needed something else to do.

My friend Cody told me about an OWSLA showcase going down at Slake, which many of you may recall is Skrillex’s record label. Every time there’s an OWSLA party it’s rumored that Skrillex will show up, and he often does. I was a little skeptical seeing as he just made an announcement that he’s taking time off from electronica-land this year, but I knew this would still be a perfect, non-Oscar-watching way to spend my Sunday evening. Particularly when I saw that Israeli electro-funk band The G-Nome Project would be playing in a different room of the same venue that evening, and even though you needed separate tickets for the two shows, I was able to snag a G-Nome ticket on Jukely for free(ish).

I arrived at American Beauty (the downstairs venue from Slake), which hosts a bar you can hang out in before entering the ticketed part of the venue. I estimated that about 95% of the people were there waiting to go to the OWSLA party and 5% were waiting for the G-Nome Project. About 1% of the people there were reading a book like they were in a coffee shop (that was me – I am reading this book, and so far it is excellent).

I stopped by the G-Nome Project first, and it was awesome. I had heard of the band a number of times but never listened to their music, and I loved it. The guys were clearly having a blast on stage, the audience was into it, and they had a live painter, which is always fun. After awhile I decided to go upstairs and get my dubstep on.

The lineup of the OWSLA showcase was a secret, but going down the list of artists on the label’s website, here’s who I would have loved to see (without regard for how realistic or unrealistic it was):

Basecamp
Kill the Noise
Marshmello
Mija
Milo & Otis
Skrillex
Valentino Khan
What So Not

I was happy to see set times posted (not so secret anymore, are you, lineup?) and less than happy to see that I had never heard of anyone on it. I pulled up the OWSLA artist list on my phone and confirmed that out of the names present on the set list, only one – DJ Sliink – was even listed there. Huh?

I went inside and even though it was after 10 and the show was supposed to start at 9, no one was DJing. But they were bumping a solid 90s hip hop playlist and I was happy. A number of people walked across the stage and seemed to be instagramming the audience, but none appeared to be intent on playing any music. I kept dancing. I decided to count the number of people who were wearing the same OWSLA jacket, and thought it strange until I remembered there had been an OWSLA pop-up shop downstairs at American Beauty that afternoon. I lost count of the jackets after 8 or 9.

owsla

Suddenly, without fanfare, the music abruptly changed from hip hop to some heavy house music, and the crowd cheered. I looked on stage and there was still no one who appeared to be playing any music.

After awhile someone did step up behind the computer. I asked around to see if anyone knew who it was. No one did, but guessed based on the set times that it might have been Chris Lake. He is not an OWSLA artist and I’m not sure why he was there, but I was into it anyway. For such a small venue there was a solid production value to this show because as we all know, every fan of electronic music loooooves lights.

Dancing by yourself to house music can feel a little weird, and so I bounced back downstairs to spend some more time at the G-Nome Project, which was still going strong and still fun and funky.  Then I went back upstairs, took another peek at the set times, and confirmed that Chris Lake would be performing for far longer than I was prepared to stay at this event, it being a Sunday and all that jazz. So after some more time at Chris Lake, I called it quits.

I was somewhat hesitant to leave, still possibly convinced that Skrillex or Marshmello would show up late in the evening and blow everyone’s minds, but I was willing to take the risk on missing out (spoiler alert: no surprise sets happened!). So I went home, YouTubed the end-of-Oscars awkwardness, and went to bed.

I’m a little bummed that at an OWSLA showcase event I only managed to see one artist (and a non-OWSLA artist at that), but I still got to hit up not one, but TWO good shows, both with A+ dancing, and I didn’t have to sit through 4 hours of watching an award show for movies I’ve never seen. So it was a win, and a great way to start the week.

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