It’s one thing to see the Mannequin Challenge being performed on social media: It’s another to actually participate in one. Dance Music NW, alongside an army of 8,000 HDyNation soldiers, did just that when Flosstradamus’s Hi Def Youth Tour invaded the Tacoma Dome. Perched atop an impressive military style bunker, sporting bullet proof vests and combat boots, J2K (Josh Young) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci), the duo behind the Flosstradmaus moniker, served as generals; the crowd in the palm of their hands. With that power? Organized chaos, and we were in the middle of it all.
Upon arriving at the Tacoma Dome at 6 PM, the general admission line stretched quite a distance down the entrance ramp. Waiting outside in the cold was no fun, but once the doors opened, we were on the dance floor in no time. Having been to Freaknight two weeks prior, we didn’t know what to expect when it came to the Flosstradamus event layout. For the night, things were kept to a minimal. There was a merch stand, water stations, food…the basic necessities. Seeing a Conscious Crew services tent was a delight; with a heavy Conscious Crew presence in the building, it was nice to know there were friendly faces ready to provide help wherever needed.
The dance floor was dark, a contrast to the colorful environment at Freaknight. There were no side stages, no acrobats, no massive art pieces; it was just the crowd, bleachers and a small stage, about the same width as the Freaknight Bass Asylum. This was A-Okay with us because we came to hear some tough beats. We got we wanted early when local favorite Alex Bosi opened up the night with a little house music, among other things, before making way for Keano and Subsonic Drops. The two, local favorites as well, delivered a hard hitting back-to-back set that featured plenty of hip hop samples, jersey club, dubstep and more. We felt like we were back in high school when they played Pop, Lock and Drop It. When they transitioned to a bass remix? Heads bangin’. Booties shakin’.
Gent and Jawns would keep the energy going, delivering a set just as diverse. Following was Chicago rapper, Towkio. His sound was new to us, but we quickly fell in love with his infectious energy; the dude was bouncing all over the stage and dousing the crowd with water bottles. At one point, he jumped atop the front row guard rail to spit a few bars. Towkio struggled to get on the rail at first, but the guy was so determined to stand up there on his own two feet. For that sir, we salute you.
When Snails took the decks from Towkio, the Vomit Squad quickly rushed toward the front of the crowd. You would have thought Snails was the main event of the night, considering the amount of fans that were dressed in his gear, or holding various Vomit Squad signs, our favorite being a “fuck salt” one that had an image of Gary, Spongebob’s snail. The Vomit Squad leader threw down a bass heavy set, that had us head banging pretty much from start to finish. Additionally, we couldn’t get enough of his LED visuals. Seeing cartoon Snails do crazy shit each time a drop occurred was something we looked forward to whenever a new track would play. Unfortunately, you had to be at a good angle to see those antics because the majority of the screen was blocked by the covered Floss bunker- an issue that plagued all visual-utilizing acts throughout the evening.
By the time Snails closed his set, we were sweating and ready for some Floss. Then the transition happened. It would take about 20 long minutes for the stage crew to unveil and prep the bunker for action. The buzz and hype we had built leading up to the closing act received a slow, painful death. During the wait, we heard Sean Paul’s Temperature twice! Temperature, as fun of a song that is, did not fit in with the sounds of the night. We were looking for something to keep us a bit more hyped in the time between! The crowd around us would moan and get antsy, but when the lights went to black, and the LED screen flickered, all the energy quickly came back into the arena, and the anticipation long forgotten.