When it comes to dark trap vibes, RL Grime possibly does it better than any of his peers. Him bringing those vibes to Seattle for a show on a Friday the 13th in October? Yes please! Kicking off his Nova Tour here in the Pacific Northwest last weekend, Grime, aka Los Angeles native Henry Steinway, and a few of his friends, would take over the WaMu Theater. Featuring a custom-built stage and all the lasers and lights you can handle, Dance Music NW was on hand to witness this monumental showcase in Steinway’s career. He certainly didn’t disappoint.
Graves, a rising bass-trap DJ/producer from Hawaii, was tasked with getting the party started. His 30 minute set was littered with modern day hip-hop street bangers from artists like XXXtentacion and Post Malone. With the dark lighting and brooding trap sounds, Graves set the tone early. When he passed the decks off to GTA, that’s when the real fun began.
GTA, who have become frequent Seattle visitors, opened with Red Lips, to which everyone sang “don’t let her smile fool, don’t her eyes confuse. Red lips always lie”. The crowd fed off their mixture of hard house, Jersey club and drum-and bass, for the next hour; lights and lasers dancing wildly with each big drop. After their last song, it was a long 20 minutes before the main event started. This break enabled the crowd to make one final restroom run, grab some drinks, and pick their positions in the crowd. After the first 10 minutes though, it was clear the people were yearning for its hero of the night.
Around 9:50, the lights faded to black as a sinister orchestral sound played. Two minutes later, the place erupted when Grime emerged from a veil of red light. Opening with Era, his new track literally released the day before, Grime played a mix of what had to be new material off his upcoming album, Nova, and a score of fresh hip-hop remixes, including a filthy take on the current number one song in America: Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow.
In addition to the new stuff, Grime spun a few familiar tracks that have become staples in his sets over the last three years. The crowd sung along to his remix of Love Sosa, clapped in unison to an edit of Kanye West’s Power, opened up the pits to Core, and more! The energy: non-stop. Seattle- we salute you.
Grime ended the night with his remix of The Weeknd’s The Hills, and let the CO2 and confetti fly for Stay For It, his stage rising at least 20 feet off the ground. The lights faded to black and the sinister orchestra would play again as chants of “one more song!” filled the building. As energetic a show we’ve been to this year, the only negative about the tour stop was that the action felt so short! Graves could have easily gone on longer. RL Grime too! But each performer made effective use of their time. How does the saying go? Time flies when you have fun? Luckily, all three took over the nearby Foundation Nightclub for their sold-out afterparty, which was equally raucous.
With an hour and 10 minutes to work with, RL Grime shines bright in his biggest headlining tour of his career; we can’t wait for him to come back to the PNW. Were you able to check out the Nova Tour in Vancouver, Seattle or Portland?