Last night was the first of three nights that I will spend celebrating the end of 2018 and the entrance of 2019 completely out of my element. If last night was any indication as to how the next two nights will go then I know I will be kicking off the new year right.
The 3rd annual Snowta festival kicked off last night at First Avenue with a pre-party show with their signature of an ecclectic line-up that got me hooked on this festival last year. Although primarily set in the EDM scene, Snowta does a great job of bringing big name rappers and hip-hop groups to this festival. Hell, last year I got to see H09909- a noise/ metal/ rap group that I’m in love with and rarely get to see. Sure, I feel out of place 99% of the time when I’m at this festival but I also feel like part of the big hodge podge that the people call the Snowta family.
The show kicked off with local DJ Velvo. With an uber late arriving crowd, I felt bad for him as he played for just the staff, myself, and a handful of people hanging around the back bar but within a couple of his creative tracks people started to take over the dance floor. I loved that Velvo didn’t let the crowd affect him. I found myself captivated by just watching him behind the giant Red Bull sponsored turntable. With a set that lasted nearly an hour and a half, I felt like I kind of got to know the guy. I could tell he was having a great time making music that was getting the quickly growing crowd move. He would have this certain head nod and would step back from the table as soon as he let a beat drop and noticed that audience getting init. His talent was not lost in the flashing lights and darkened dance floor. Mixing songs both old and new with infectious beats that fit all too perfectly and felt completely original, Velvo was the absolute perfect opening act for what would end up turning into a giant party.
Saint Paul based Bobby Raps was up next. Now, I’ve only heard his name in passing. I’ve had a couple of friends record with him and say nothing about nice things about this guy. I guess, in my mind, I had made him out to be a strictly local act but as soon as he took over the stage in his black track suit while handing out Twizzlers and Hot Cheetos to the audience, I knew he was so much more than just that local kid at the local bars. The crowd instantly started screaming along to his vulgar yet playful lyrics with a sense energy that I was just unable to find since it was creeping up on 11 PM. With DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip (no, that’s not a typo nor my cat walking my keyboard– there’s really that many i’s) behind the laptap blasting out Bobby Rap’s self produced beats, the duo pushed through a quick set that had the now packed floor sweaty and ready for more.
Set changeovers were quick but that didn’t change the fact that it was nearly midnight by the time Shredders (the main reason I was out past my bedtime) took the stage. I may have been tired but as soon as I saw the four familiar faces of Sims, P.O.S., Paper Tiger, and Lazerbeak (all from Doomtree), I felt my second wind hit me in the face. The group jumped into a set full of new Shredders, songs, old solo favorites from both Sims and P.O.S. and a little bit in-between. With rapid fire lyrics coming from both P.O.S and Sims that seemed to battle each other in a way, the set was fast moving and had the audience participating in P.O.S’ signature “5 second dance parties”. Obviously I’ve seen all four of these men perform more times than I can count whether it be with Doomtree or with their various side projects (Doomtree is the logo I have tattooed on my wrist), but it truly never gets old. The playfulness of the music leads to a fun atmosphere and an ever-changing set. They could play the same songs night after night but it would never feel the same and that’s what keeps me coming back to them. Shredders was definitely the highlight of last night for me but I knew they would be going into it so it wasn’t really a fair fight.
Closing out the night was Getter from California. Born Tanner Petulla, Getter is a DJ who has a following to say the least. It has been a long time since Getter has been in Minnesota and you could just feel the anticipation erupt as he took the stage behind the turntables (or computer– whatever it was). Although there has been drama in Getter’s past including a 2016 tweet saying something to the extent that local DJ’s opening up shows is terrible and ruining the concert experience for everyone, people clearly have gotten over it. His beats were fast and in your face which matched the way the nearly sold out audience was moving. With some people jumping, some people moshing, and some people passing out against the wall next to me (shout out to First Avenue for making it a safe environment as they always do. Seriously, the staff was on top of their game last night), it was one of those shows where it didn’t matter what you were doing or why you were there, you were having a fun time with a smile on your face.
There was more music happening down at The 7th Street Entry last night but I was so captivated by every musician that hit the main stage that I only spent a couple of minutes down there. It seemed to be more or less the same but with a little more emphasis on the DJ scene than the hip-hop scene.
The Red Bull signage everywhere (the event is sponsored by the toxic energy drink that I tend to drink like water) was a reminder of how nutty the next two days will be. With two nights of an EDM festival and a day of work smashed in-between, Red Bull will most certainly be pumping through my veins. That may sound terrible to most people but to me it sounds like a hell of a way to end 2018 and ring in 2019.