This past Friday, our friends at Soundgarden Hall brought yet another Ascension show to a packed house of eager fans, with a collection of acts that was guaranteed to blow the roof off the place. When we first arrived, we caught a back-to-back set with RA!N vs. Cosenza, two rising producers with a taste for the heavy bass. Going in with aggressive electro leads and rap vocals, this set was a cluster of awesomeness that brought the crowd from dubstep to moombah to trap and all the intricacies in between. Following a live performance of RA!N’s latest track “Camouflage”, Speaker Of The House came in to continue the groove of two-step and electro. Two hours of sexual beats, check.
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After some running around and crowd mingling, we were ready to head to the green room to prepare for our interview with MAKJ, but not before we caught Amenzo’s set and the transition to Fratello. Let me tell you, these two acts are worth following. After a powerhouse hour packed with big-room and progressive/electro bangers, Amenzo dropped his latest ID that got the whole room roaring. Kicking up synth lines in the melody and drop that rivaled Showtek or Nicky Romero, his latest track is sure to turn some major heads soon. We also learned that other tracks performed that night were his other originals and remixes as well, but he’s keeping hush-hush about it all. Maybe soon we’ll be informed!
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Up next, Fratello. Dominic & Vincent. Two brothers that know their shit. The last time I saw these guys in action was 2012 when they opened for Hardwell & Bingo Players, and let me tell you, they have come a long way. Dropping new originals like “Ya Mon!” and “SpringShot”, the duo from Jersey brought an energy to the crowd that was palpable, and dare I say, relentless. Fratello’s set was honestly a full hour of rage, and although we had to leave for our interview with MAKJ, we managed to catch all of the set from the green room’s TV, and to be honest we lost our shit a couple times and had to retake a few questions. Turn up.
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Then came the moment we were all waiting for. MAKJ. The debut Philadelphia performance. It’s safe to say that this crowd was hyped up. And for good reason. Since I first found out about Mackenzie Johnson last year (I remember hearing his song “Crunch” at a club and going nuts), I’ve followed his rise from prospect to budding superstar, and this was actually my first time seeing him live. So, as you can imagine, I was as pumped up as the rest of the crowd. We had just finished our interview and I figured I’d hang out in the crowd instead of backstage so I could get a true fan’s perspective of his set, and what was to follow for the next two hours absolutely blew my mind. Not only was his set intricate in its detail of transitions and effects, it continued to surprise, dazzle, and confuse us in the best of ways. MAKJ continuously pulled quick transitions that brought in the drop of a song completely different than what we were expecting, and the highlight of the evening wasn’t even that fact! It was the consistent use of popular tracks and throwbacks that everybody knew and loved. “Otherside” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2Pac’s “California Love”, “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and House of Pain’s “Jump Around” were just a few of the samples that were dropped into one of the most diverse sets I’d ever seen.
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All in all, I can honestly admit to all reading that this was one of my favorite shows in Philadelphia to date. Between the incredible quality of the local lineup and the mind-boggling 2 hours that ensued once MAKJ took to the decks, it's safe to say that this city is on the rise in the electronic community, and I can't wait to see what the next few months will bring. Until next time!