With a lineup curated by Skrillex himself, the OWSLA tour was in full force Nov. 15 as MONSTA, Nick Thayer, Birdy Nam Nam and Kill The Noise brought Montreal’s Telus Theatre into an absolute frenzy.
Judging by the insanely long line, it was obvious that the returns of the headliners, french DJ collective Birdy Nam Nam and American dubstep producer Kill The Noise, was highly anticipated as both have not played a show in Montreal in over a year.
Though Birdy Nam Nam have played in Montreal, they were not well-acquainted with the North American anglophone Electronic Dance Music community the last time they played here. After signing to OWSLA, along with the release of two Skrillex remixes of their hit song “Goin In”, they’ve finally received the proper credit they deserve. With each of the four DJ’s backing a single turntable, they switch off live scratching and looping, hand-crafting builds and drops. These techniques were easily the most intricate and challenging I’ve ever seen a DJ or group perform, yet they never missed a beat. Birdy Nam Nam’s funky, diverse sound was what made their set the most watched of the night, with the theatre packed, shoulder to shoulder the entire time.
As the show switched from Birdy Nam Nam to Kill The Noise, the crowd thinned. Even with a smaller crowd, the tension built between sets, with the audience chanting, “KILL, KILL, KILL!” before the DJ even started. Although some would say his return was long overdue, the wait was even more worth it with the release of his new EP just this month, titled BLVCK MVGIC. This mind-bending EP is receiving critical acclaim within the EDM world, with some describing it as the best dubstep album of the year. But to describe his set as dubstep would be slightly misleading. One track from the album which was played, “Mosh It Up”, shows no regard for tempo consistency, as it jumps from a freakish hardstyle pace and descends into a raving trap drop, and then casually switches back to hardstyle. One concert goer in the heart of the crowd described it to me as “Insanity.”
The heart-attack inducing switching of genres multiple times inside of a single track is appearing more and more to be the way forward for many EDM producers looking for a challenge. Judging by its success, at least here in Montreal, I think it’s safe to say that we can expect another OWSLA tour in the near future.