First of all, the previous Minnesota shows at Terminal West have sold-out four years in a row - this means something special was happening and I was lucky to be a part of it. To do the universe justice and set the tone of the evening I have to tell you that the weather was perfect: a breeze that you only get on Spring nights, with a darkness that dilates the pupils and moonlight that charges us up with some sort of devious energy.
Attitude is everything and my drive to TWest was easy, traffic free, and filled with top 40’s radio hits, the yin to the yang of aggressive wubs and metallic bass sounds that I was heading to immerse myself in. I pull up on the spot and… there’s no one here… am I early? But the parking deck is almost full... Either way, attitude is everything and I find a premiere parking spot immediately. I grab my golden VIP wristband from the nice gal behind the booth and glide through security nabbing free ear plugs on the way (thank you Terminal West for the ear plugs - the Masquerade charged .50c for ear plugs… interesting they were the first to go…)
Anyway, we all know that familiar sound of bass humming through walls and how the architecture around you vibrates accordingly with each measure of music. The door swings open and I’m graced with higher frequencies, a nearly empty floor, and raging sounds of heavy dub and screeching synths. “OK, this is happening...” I say to myself. The night’s impromptu dance crew, already front row, is head nodding, throwing daps and bows, and clad in festy wear. I see pins gleaming on hats and trendy scarves whipping like flags of millennial freedom. Fuck yeah. I’m standing, looking, and listening to wild sounds that I can't help but imagine as power lines being plucked like guitar strings and thick, billboard sized glass bottles being hit with mallets the size of basketballs. Whoa.
YES! So ya boi is playing a sold out show at @terminalwest with fav dj of all fucking time, @minnesotabass and the dude @champagnedrip Doors are at 8pm and the Exit starts at 9pm #minnesota #ATLEDM #twest #terminalwest #atlanta #champagnedrip #exit9 #bassmusic #basshead #SoldOut #minnesotadubstep #dubstep #glitchhop
I always enjoy watching people loosen up as the night rolls on. With a dance floor this empty it’s easy to feel insecure about your movements and motions...especially if you have a corporate job where you have to sit up straight on a laptop and attend meetings to convince your peers and superiors of your worth and value to the congregate. This opener, Exit 9, is super-tight. Both stylistically and compositionally. His mix is arithmetic, following 32 bar structures with distinct sections. That's pleasing to my inner mathematician and also my tendencies toward being OCD.
Terminal West is one of the best venues, if not the best, in Atlanta. Whoever is managing the place really has their shit together and they are lucky to have a great staff that always provides great service, even at 2 am.
I get my first drink, a soda water, and cranberry with two lemon wedges. Did I mention that Minnesota canceled his interview with us? I’d like to believe it’s something mysterious and epic... like to he's recording with Andre 3000 or Big Boi or Ludacris or the Migos... maybe he smoking blunts, maybe he's sober. Ah, the questions of life... I was on set with Lil' Yachty a week or so ago filming music videos and it turns out he and his crew are totally sober - the Migos had to smoke blunts outside in a special van! One of them has a white McLaren 650s. I drove one when they hit the Atlanta showroom floor at Roswell Motorsports and wow; I had never yet felt so much brute power, technical precision, and seductive engineering in a vehicle. Sweet car and priced competitively (and on purpose) against the $180k Porsche.
As I'm observing my surroundings I'm graced with the sight of Ployd. A bearded, teddy bear looking fella who's been slinging bass music since '95. We came into each others’ presence while I was quietly filming in an artist van at Tomorroworld 2015 (you know the one with all the mud and poor logistical planning that might have led to them going bankrupt and being replaced with Imagine Music Festival). Anyway, I was there filming Debroka with his manager that I had befriended running a video studio on the Atlanta Beltline. They're all great guys and I had a fun time listening to their banter. I met Ployd again filming at Sweetwater 420 Fest.
Back to Exit 9, our evening opener. Although his hat says FUTURE TRILL, he certainly has an air of the renaissance about him - it may have been the feather protruding from his cap or it may have been his multifaceted set but whatever it was I like it. By then I was standing front row and catching a case of the head bobs, they're quite contagious, really. On a freak nasty drop, my whole body flexed and I felt hoodie as f***. The vibrations of these sounds just make this happen. To be honest, I did feel a tinge of timid self-awareness but we can always shake that loose. The other front-rowers were using the handrail as somewhat of a leverage point to headbang or do whatever dance they’re doing.
Random thought: is a guard rail to a wook what a pole is to a stripper? I like strip clubs and I promote getting money, this gets me thinking that Exit 9 should have dancers on stage. And champagne would be fitting. And maybe someone painting a canvas in the likes of Renaissance masterpieces like the Birth of Venus, The Sistine Madonna, or The... wait for ittttt... Mona Lisa - slide with my people.
I visit the bar to refill my cran and soda and I add a third lemon wedge.
So let's talk fashion for a moment. The guy beside me looks pretty ill. He's wearing sunglasses that compliment his bone structure and he’s mysteriously hidden underneath some sort of shiny head wrap/scarf. His style reminds me of a Pakistani princess gone American Badass. I’m sure the super-saw synthetic bass that was ripping thru the speakers helped his fashion case and overall presentation. As I'm listening through my ear plugs I hear a guy beside me tell his partner the same thing I was thinking when I walked in the venue, that it sounds like metal wires were being played with by the hands of God. I agreed with him and felt less alone. Suddenly I got a whiff of someone's coconut shampoo! Remember kids, it's important to smell good in public. Personally, I wear my girlfriend's perfume, Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf, as I've always preferred the smell of woman over a man.
Picked up my third soda and cran. I was drinking fast and the place was filling up faster. It was a sold out show after all. At 9:57 our second DJ, Champagne Drip showed up. He inserted his thumb drive. I was close enough to see that it's a Lexar.
Champagne stuck another Lexar in another slot and I took a note, "By the way, damn this beat is tight!" The mix started slowing down and I thought this would be the transition between sets but they just stopped the mix to get on the mic. Champagne Drip. So sexual. I've been drinking champagne the past few weeks so that was really working for me at that moment.
His mix started ethereally. Heavy, rounded kicks. Then the first drop. Super-duper heavy as fuck. My pants were literally vibrating and it's making me laugh as I type this. Heavy music with ethereal overtones. That's some deep wubwub.
Then I thought I smelled Doublemint gum, but looking down the railing I saw a can of dip Were these two connected? Wait -- what actually was that coconut smell from earlier???
The sounds got more aggressive. The "ATL-HOE" chant made itself heard momentarily. And just in case you don't know,
The drum beat switched up and I liked it. Not sure how to describe it. Maybe you could buy tickets earlier next go round?
Champagne Drip popped a bottle of champagne. I then wished I had some weed to smoke, and I don't even smoke weed. But I think I just got excited and wanted to be cool. Legally of course. Nevertheless, not too much longer since demand creates supply and everyone wants to collect money along the way.
A lot of purposeful swaying was happening around me and Drip announced he’s playing a track he made with 12th Planet a “half a decade ago." I like his word choice. It's was updated mix of that track and you would like it.
By the way, the fresh dressed gent I mentioned earlier has light up shoes. People, there is a time and place for light up shoes and it was there and then. I made my way to the right wing where they serve food. Smelled amazing and I spotted a coffee station and cookies. Son-of-a-bitch. And house-made Whoopie pies. Wtf. Omg. Time to go upstairs where they smoke cigarettes. It was a little chilly which meant I needed to raise my heart rate. My nips got hard actually. Also, the ice water I was drinking was not helping. I found my way to the second floor terrace. It's warmer and more private. The beat was steady knockin’ - and harder than before. The energy of the place was raising for sure.
I link up with the first DJ and we decided to hit the green room. He stopped us mid-crowd stage right to finish a Champagne Drip song that he loves. He was Snapchatting or Facebook live’ing, but I wasn't totally paying attention because I can’t help but look at the beautiful people all around me. His interview went well and he was super polite, excited, and open. Even offered me the black bean empanada he couldn't finish, verde sauce and all. Turns out he was in the army. Fell in love with EDM in Pakistan. Wow. Now he's opening for the DJ that first inspired him. Full circle.
Back to Champagne Drip. Said he wanted to finish his set on some “weird experimental shit” he's been working on. I liked it. It's def weird, but I mean, where do you take this kind of music anyway? Now, that is the question. Maybe. Do you know the question?
Time for what eighty percent of them were waiting for, Minnesota. Minnesota transitioned in without a hitch of course. The deepest bass of the night. I was standing mid-floor and my whole body felt it. Then the claps, claps, claps. "This must be a build..." It was “some shit w/ his boy G Jones”. And I must say, Damn, it just got hood, lit, and wow-as-fuck at all the same damn time. The lighting technician stepped up the game too. No wonder they sell out.
I hadn't listened to Minnesota much before this evening and I know now first hand why he's all the rage. I remember hearing in my head Gucci Mane rapping over the beats. Funny enough as I thought that, a Drake vocal was mixed in. There is something about this music that harbors massive amounts of energy. There is a sync to the crowd's movements and then we heard, “Let me see your hips schwing!”
I change locations. Upstairs again. I like it there. A beautiful view and quality sound reception gave the acoustics of the space and placement of the speakers and probably some more technical stuff too. Then I took out my ear plugs to up the dBs and feel less like I was in a bubble. I continued my evening trying out different locations in the venue, with each being equally great and uniquely different. If you haven't been to Terminal West, go.
I mentioned earlier that I enjoy watching people loosen up as the evening rolls on and that it’s quite contagious. Somehow, I had begun dancing and by the midway of Minnesota’s set, I was full swing in some Dragon Ball Z-esque dancing version of the house music skip you see the cool kids doing at house shows. I had finally quit giving a fuck what others thought about me and I was really enjoying myself. The set was amazing, the energy was raw, and the crowd was lit.
Photos by Sidney Spear for Bullet Music