Review: Getting trapped at the El Rey with Keys N Krates, gLAdiator, and Thugli

September 28, 2014 -

Louis Garcia

On September 20th we were invited our to catch Keys N Krates at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles while they stopped by on their headlining tour with Thugli and gLAdiator.

Pat Drastik & Tom Wrecks, a.k.a. Thugli, started off the night with one of the most killer opening sets. Usually the audience is patiently saving their energy at the start of a show, but when we arrived the dance floor was already on rage mode.  Thugli dropped banger after banger of trap hits and originals including their remix of Hella Hoes by A$AP Mob.

Next up, L.A. native trap boyz gLAdiator took the stage. During our interview with JAUZ, we found out that his favorite set of EDC 2014 was gLAdiator's, making me extremely curious to check them out. They basically transformed this local show into that music festival that costs several paychecks to attend. Their set was so insane people were getting down like there was no tomorrow. Crowd surfing, mosh pits, you name it, no one held back as gLAdiator tore up the floor.

They spun mainly trap music with the occasional dubstep track and hip hop throwback. At some point they brought out Loudpvck uniting the force that is Gladpvck for a track. Their BPM jumping was on point as they constantly drove the crowd in new directions. Eventually they began throwing in some house music that banged with an obsure beat. I could feel the house rhythm but the drums kept everyone thinking we were still grooving to trap. Afterwards they took us one (maybe two) deeper with Scotty Boy Lorenzo's Coke Diet. Eventually their set came to an end and what better way to finish the night than with Skrillex's Cinema. Although this sounds like the cheesiest thing ever, it worked wonders for the energy of the crowd.

Finally it was time to rock out with the dirty trap trio that's currently setting boundaries for EDM performances. Personally, Keys N Krates began as just another trap name from Soundcloud so it was awesome finally being able to see the faces and feel the live energy that I've heard so much about. For a trap group, their performance was hands down one of the most impressive. Although I respect DJs, it sometimes gets boring watching someone stand behind a laptop without knowing what they're doing. Live performances are able to showcase the talent of these artists by putting them on the spot with instruments. On the flip-side, live bands are always gonna be limited by the predictability of performing originals all the way through. Keys took the aspect of mixing music/ sampling and fused it with the energy of a live performance, creating an experience that left everyone in pure awe.

They performed a ton of originals and rather than dropping remixes they covered popular trap hits such as TNGHT's Gooooo and RL Grime & Salva's remix of Mercy. They took no breaks at all, the entire time they were building the crowds energy and keeping our full attention. Whether the drummer was wrecking it on his fills, the keyboard was sampling his own live remix, or the turntablist was scratching it up on the decks, they kept feeding us exactly what we needed for a headlining set.

If anyone ever tells you trap is dead, trap performances are boring, or trap music sucks, just take them to a show like this and its guaranteed that the energy of the room will have a powerful impact. With Keys N Krates it took a live show like this for me to truly appreciate their talent.

Checkout our last interview with Keys N Krates here.

Photos by Charlee Grey.

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