Last weekend kicked off for me with DJ Swamp at Nextdoor. As a DJ, he’s accomplished just about everything you could hope for. He won the DMC World DJ Championships in 1996 and toured with Beck for four years. Plus, his scratches have been featured on tracks for mainstream artists like Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, Vanilla Ice, Katy Perry and Weird Al Yankovich, as well as underground legends including Swollen Members and Awol One. With long black hair and a towering stature, he looked something like an Addams Family member, or possibly a professional wrestler on his way to the ring, decked out in a fur trench coat as he made his way to the stage.
That’s when things got even more interesting. A few minutes into his set, his coat began to light up with the music. At one point, he pulled out a pair of sunglasses that had mini TVs for lenses and flashed crazy visualizations that looked like a screensaver on crack. He waved his hands in the air to hype up the crowd — and a blowtorch threw a 6-foot flame out of his pointer finger. His set culminated with him setting the turntables on fire while scratching the burning records. He threw a melted record into the crowd, and I bumped somebody out of the way just to get my hands on it. (Although, I’m not sure why; it’s so warped that I won’t be able to play it, and it’s a bit too awkward and ugly to display as art.)
Then, Saturday night, everywhere I went people were asking me if I got punched in the face. Julia Sanders from Arkham’s Closet production company di rected her first music video at Studio 114. I went thinking that I would just dance a little bit in a group shot, but when I got there, it was a full-blown production with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of video equipment and lighting. They had my face painted as a red tiger, but afterward, the paint didn’t wash off as easily as it went on. In hindsight, I should have just left the paint on because I was getting pretty annoyed when even strangers would remark, “Whoa, what happened to you?”
I decided to try to sweat the paint off and dance at Russell Trent’s Island Vibes EP release party at Asylum. As a bit of unexpected magic, headliner DJs from Wonderland showed up to have a little fun. LA Riots, Destructo, AC Slater and Amtrac ended up doing a set with Russell. It definitely was a monumental way to celebrate his new tracks.
Finally, on Tuesday, local rapper Joekerr had his mixtape release at Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Center. It’s a collection of tracks he’s been working on for the past three years. When he’s in the zone, Joekerr’s stage presence is pretty phenomenal, and this night was one of those nights. He also was joined by other local artists, including Maryanne Ito, who is one of the best female R&B singers I’ve ever seen perform live. And when she was mixing it up with Joekerr, it had the sparkle and charm of a Ja Rule/Ashanti duet, but with way more interesting and intricate vocal styling.