I arrived at Webster Hall Saturday night early and suffering from a case of what my doctor called "nonsense," but I called desperation in the third degree. I had been patient all week since news dropped of Skrillex playing Webster Hall’s ‘Brite Nites’ after Governors Ball, and the hours just chose to crawl by. It was only 11PM in the Big Room and already I was dodging and weaving through the crowds of anxious fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder, like me impatiently waiting for Sonny and his OWSLA crew. When I finally made my way to the top-level that overlooked the stage, I knew I had better stay put if I wanted any kind of view for what was about to be one of the best OWSLA shows yet.
Yogi, one of OWSLA’s up and coming producers, got the party started and the crowd’s blood flowing. With an intense remix of Drake’s “Girls Love Beyoncé” followed by “Burial” featuring Pusha T and “Kicking Down Doors” featuring Santigold, Yogi proved why he’s been called “one to watch.” As a guest in what Yogi owned as his room for the duration of his set, the crowd and I had no choice but to match Yogi’s energy. If we weren’t at attention upon our arrival that quickly changed and Yogi made sure we all listened up.
When Branchez stepped on to take over I was not surprised that the crowd continued on dancing. But, I was impressed at how clean the two artists conducted the usual artist-to-artist transition, careful not to disturb the immense energy flowing throughout the room. At a moment’s notice the man got heavy, real heavy. Right off the top Branchez dropped the hip-hop tracks his fans are used to hearing from him like his remix of “Hell’s Angels,” and “Altered States.” Branchez also showed us his soulful side with “Back Room,” a track infused with as much trap as it has soul. The crowd was very much feeling the heavy drops that flowed in and out with an occasional weave of softer sounds, a style Branchez is infamous for. The man of many talents even reminded those of us who attended ‘Girls & Boys’ Friday night of Whats So Not with his remix of “High You Are.” Needless to say, if Branchez aimed at reminding his native city of the straight up raw parties our clubs were once unafraid of throwing he succeeded beyond measure. So, thanks man for that moment of nostalgia.
Then, in usual fashion Sonny jumped on. Yes, literally, physically jumped. Opening with the intro to “Ragga Bomb” he then took to mixing in “Breakin’ A Sweat.” How did he mange to combine two different sounds so sublimely? Well, I shouldn’t have to answer that but as the man has told you before: his name is Skrillex. Reggae and trap rhythms may have been Sonny’s way of warming up the crowd because in just a few minutes he sped things up in of course, usual dub step style. As the madness ensued Skrillex shot up from the floor to his DJ table in the swiftest of all moves- no props and no hands. As I’ve argued many times in the past, the man’s just not real. And because we would never expect less from the Dub step King after landing up top the table, Sonny proceeded to crouch down mixing tracks from his Recess album. “All Is Fair In Love and Brostep,” “Recess,” “Stranger” “F*ck That” “Coast Is Clear,” “Ragga Bomb” owned the room one after the other. For very short-lived moments Sonny allowed the crowd to catch their breath with his remix of “Latch.” Even more so with “Ease My Mind,” a more melancholic track off the Recess album. The man loved by all proved why he’s often talked about as the most down to Earth DJ when he pointed out one of his fans holding a sign that read: Skrillex play “Cinema” it’s my birthday! Sonny fulfilled the request but not before he asked the rest of us to join him in song and of course when Skrillex asks’ you to sing “Happy Birthday” you oblige.
So on a side note: Stephanie, all of us at Daily Beat hope you had the birthday of a lifetime and we’re positive we can catch a video of this moment posted onto your Instagram feed.
Going well past Webster’s closing time Sonny “ended” the night with “Hakuna Matata” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” As he and the rest of the room broke out in chorus I thought to myself, Simba would be proud.
Apparently the great vine reports Skrillex continued playing well after most of the room had exited, blessing a group of a little over twenty guests an intimate after-hours set. But since I’ve never been one to kiss and tell I’ll let your imagination flow on that one.