How did you ring in the new year? Was it surrounded by friends at a local watering hole or just at someone’s place? Was it surrounded by your pets during a cozy night in? Both of those sound like great ways to ring in the new year but not quite my style. Naturally, I found myself at a concert alone yet surrounded by strangers that quickly turned into family. With a smile on my face throughout the night, I said goodbye to 2018 at the final night of the Snowta festival at The Armory in Minneapolis.
Much like Sunday night, I walked into the Armory and was instantly overwhelmed by the lights and sounds but in the best way possible. I arrived a little late due to wanting to grab a drink and some food with my friends before I deserted their low key plans for something a bit more exciting so things were in full swing as I wandered around trying to decide where to plant myself for awhile.
I found myself drawn to the mainstage by Spark Master Tape. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Spark Master Tape. The anonymous rapper disappeared a couple of years ago with no warning or explanation. After two years of silence, a single Tweet shot this raper back into the spotlight. With a small tour with Run The Jewels (which ended early due to issues with contracts), I think I was one of the few people who had no clue who Spark Master Tape was when watching him and his group of friends bounce around the stage while rapping with a sense of energy and aggression that only he could do. Sunday night was mostly EDM music so to walk into this festival and hear an act like Spark Master Tape was definitely refreshing.
Naturally, I was pretty drawn to the mainstage just due to the production value with the lights and smoke so I just stayed put as Boogie T took the stage. I think that was one of the best decisions I made all night. Boogie T had a very playful vibe about him. Maybe it was the colorful videos playing on the larger than life screens behind him or maybe it was the music he was playing. Regardless, I was enjoying every single second of his set. Out of all of the DJ’s I saw during this festival, Boogie T was the only one to break out an actual instrument. Sure, his guitar playing definitely wasn’t mind blowing but it was a nod to his musicianship that I truly appreciated and it helped make him stand out.
Unfortunately my timing got off somewhere or the timing on the outside stage got off. I was hoping to catch Dwynell Roland- a local rapper that I’ve been falling head over heels for- but either he wasn’t there or I just completely missed his set. Regardless, when I stepped outside to the stage on the smoking patio, I was greeted with what I can only describe as a dance party. Four piece local rap group Cram was bouncing around near the turntables situated towards the back of the patio. It may have been freezing out there but this group did a great job of getting people moving and keeping the area warm. Their music was definitely that Minnesota brand of rap of that I’ve come to love. Although I was bummed that I didn’t catch Dwynell, catching Cram was a treat and I can’t wait to catch them again only inside where I can actually stand and watch for longer than ten minutes before freezing to my core.
Following a quick stage change-over and a little bit of technical difficulties, Chief Keef took the stage. Another huge name in the rap world, it was clear that the audience was ready for his set and although it was cut short due to the technical difficulties at the beginning, Chief Keef gave the audience all that he had. Chief Keef’s set was great but you could feel the anticipation in the air as the clock started nearing midnight. Majority of the audience spent Chief Keef’s set either in line for the bathroom or in line for the bar but even with that, it was impossible to not ignore the music.
The countdown started at five minutes to midnight. A hush fell over the audience as different images started taking over the screens with the countdown displayed on them. Images of amazing and terrible things that happened this year. The curated videos included everything from sportball games to the headliner Skrillex hanging out with Post Malone to a touching tribute to the one and only Anthony Bourdain (RIP). The videos were a great reminder of just how good and how bad this year has been for everyone. Then, as the countdown neared 0, the one and only Skrillex started to create his beats behind the turn tables. 3…2….1
You see it in the movies- the epic balloon drop with fireworks go off from the stage and confetti falls into your $13 dollar drink… Seriously though, if you’ve never experienced a New Year’s at a show like this you absolutely have to. Sure, this year was a bit rigged because I absolutely love Skrillex so I would have been stoked even without the production value of the balloons and fireworks but still, the feeling you get when you take that jump into the new year surrounded by strangers with a smile on your face– it’s pure magic.
Skrillex was the first act I saw for the year 2019 and I couldn’t have picked a better performer. His music is upbeat and makes you jump to every single beat. Add the fireworks, the plumes of smoke, and the over all party vibe of the nearly sold out audience and you are left with the most perfect way to kick off the new year.