Hailing from The Netherlands, future bass phenom San Holo has been steadily building his career and fan following with a sudden burst of notoriety in the last two years. Following his early EP releases, which mostly followed the trap sound that was growing in popularity at the time, he began to remix old classic dance anthems by the likes of 50 Cent, Will Smith, and Outkast. During this period, he began to develop his signature sound, and began to build a real name for himself.
His unique touch matches the name of his label, bitbird, and closely resembles the sounds I imagine a digital bird might make. Chirpy and bright, the digital instruments he has created give a refreshing and totally unique feeling to the heavy basslines that underpin and envelop his creations. I was very excited to see him live as I’ve been following his career via his Soundcloud releases and mini-doc videos of his touring performances. I’ve seen footage of crowds going nuts to his sets, so I knew I had to check him out for myself.
Opening up the night was local regular and one of my favorites, Juju Beats, who I’ve seen a lot more of lately. He played an energetic but smooth set that got the crowd dancing and in the spirit to have a really great night. Stationside was open and Terminal West filled up early with a crowd of people talking, dancing, eating, and getting their first couple rounds of drinks in. By the time San Holo took the stage, the dance floor was packed, warmed up, and excited for the show.
When he did get to the stage, the room was electric and things got sweaty quickly. I was pleased to hear him play so much variety, as he navigated effortlessly between trap, future bass, and even played some happy hardcore and trance throwbacks. His show was clearly all about having fun more than trying to look cool, as he played wearing a dad hat and a polo shirt buttoned to the top. The audience soaked up everything he threw at us, and when he announced a meet & greet after the show, dozens lined up for a chance at an autograph or handshake with him.
I really like San Holo’s music, but he’s far from being my favorite. However, his show was one of the more fun performances I’ve seen in a while, and I would happily revisit one of his sets over a lot of other producers whose music I might like more than his. His energy was all about the purity of fun and sharing an hour of happiness with the crowd. No pretense of trying to look cool or telling anyone how to behave, just making sure everyone was smiling and moving to the music. I think dance music needs a lot more of that, and I found myself repeatedly putting my hands up without him even having to yell at me on the mic to do it.
Photos by Megan Friddle for Bullet Music