TNGHT Pounds Through the Chronic Fog at Mezzanine, 4/20/13
Bogl vs. Dials
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Better than: Passing out after an Adult Swim marathon.
It was 12:36 a.m. The iPod had been playing on an empty stage for 20 minutes now, and the restless crowd shifted uncomfortably, clearly impatient that the members of TNGHT, producers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, were taking so long to appear. After a drug-addled day for many, the sold-out Mezzanine audience was clearly eager for an injection of energy. Suddenly, the dark stage lit up, almost painful to the many reddened eyes looking on. A slow rumbling began.
"It's those trap guys!" a bikini-clad girl exclaimed, as TNGHT finally took the stage and the crowd erupted in a roar.
Earlier in the night, as we arrived at Mezzanine, we were confused as to why there wasn't a long line outside. However, once we entered the venue, it was clear that this was an early-arriving crowd, as throngs of people fitted in HUF caps, hoodies, and baggy jeans were attentively bobbing their heads along with the third opening act, DJ BOGL, of Soundpieces. The thick musk of weed and the trance-like groove on the dancefloor spoke to the nature of tonight's celebration. BOGL's set hit on the biggest trap music artists of the day, such as Bauuer (whom he had opened for earlier that week) and DJ Snake.
The mood was set, and DJ Dials, coming off of a killer opening performance at the Baauer show a few days prior, took the stage for the final warm-up. Veering dramatically from the previous set, Dials played a mixture of '90s hip-hop, classic marijuana anthems such as "I Got 5 on It," and Top 40 jams like "Pretty Girl Swag." The set received a mixed reaction, and a few boos were heard, but as soon as 420-friendly tunes from Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre made their way into the playlist, the positive vibes returned.
The mood dampened temporarily following Dials' set, as the stage went dark and a pre-recorded playlist played over the soundsystem. But when TNGHT finally arrived onstage, the crowd reacted as if it were witnessing the second coming of Jesus -- only, in this case, it was the 420 Jesus.
Fresh from Coachella, the duo had spent the day riding around S.F. in a limo, checking out attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and the stoner convention at Hippie Hill. We were able to speak to them backstage prior to the set, and Lunice described how he felt about the vibe in S.F. on 420. "Everyone is so festive here and is going somewhere. Hippie Hill? Yeah. Traffic everywhere!" And despite their late arrival on stage, the festivities had yet to cease: a large cloud of smoke arose from the audience as the duo began playing their first track.
Building slowly from a lengthy instrumental track into bangers like Waka Flocka's "Rooster in My Rari," the crowd roared to life, and blunt hits, fist-pumping, and head-banging quickly ensued. By this point, anyone naively hoping to avoid exposure to the day's honored drug was forced to succumb to the ubiquitous chronic fog.
Lunice, the more animated of the two performers, jumped around onstage, gesturing wildly with his hands, pantomiming rap lyrics, and stage-diving into the crowd, while Hudson Mohawke bobbed demurely behind his MIDI controller. The set jumped from rap bangers to original tracks such as the tightly-coiled stylings of "Goooo," as the young, mostly male audience hung on every drop. As the climax of the night hit with the duo's most popular single "Higher Ground," the roof of Mezzanine seemed to cave in as fans stomped and thrashed to the percussion. The duo ended their set around 1:45 with a UGK remix, a nod to their early-2000s hip-hop influence. Hudson Mohawke then left the stage, and Lunice played a few jams before DJ Dials came on the mic announcing the end of the show and the location of the afterparty.
As the crowd exhaustedly ambled out of the venue, it was clear this would be a night to remember, were it not for the resulting memory loss.
Well: I'm not even sure there was a fog machine, now that I think about it.
Fun note: TNGHT was filming a tour documentary at this show, so be sure to look out for your faces in the near future.