The city of Santa Ana had some far-off visitors in from the United Kingdom this past Saturday, and for those of you who were in attendance, you’ll know exactly whom I’m talking about. The SMOG family gave their friends and fans the equivalent of one big punch to the face with the line up they came packing. Footsie, SON OF KICK, Pawn, Kelly Dean, Joker and Plastician were all on the menu, and for fans of Grime, Dubstep, Trap, etc., it might as well have been an evening of all-you-can-eat In-N-Out, animal style.
The theme of the night was purple, which was how I came to be in the only purple shirt I own and a red skirt, feeling good and festive as I was, however the amount of those who chose to abide by the theme was nearly zero. My friend technically wore purple too, but it was in the form of a white shirt striped with purple lines you could hardly see, but to his credit, he tried. So there I was, standing in the line for will call amidst a mass of people wearing not much else than black. Oh, and I had left my jacket in the car not wanting to lug it around once I got inside, so all in all, I felt just a tad bare and more than a little bright. That was all completely forgotten, however when the bouncers searched my friend only to find the lipstick I had asked him to hold for me in his coat pocket. Boy, they didn’t let that one go easily, and it didn’t help that I’d already sprinted inside to escape the cold when he tried to point out that the lipstick did in fact belong to a living, breathing human being. Needless to say they didn’t believe him, and needless to say I laughed my ass off.
Back to the show: inside the Observatory was filled with people, with the crowd growing at a quick and steady pace. Everyone was excited, laughing and screaming in the hallway, dancing and jumping on each other like bonafide gorillas on the dancefloor. Standing up on the level above the pit I spotted a couple in front of me (I use the word ‘spotted’ loosely by the way, because really you wouldn’t just spot an elephant standing right in front of you) making out to the vocal stylings of Footsie at one point during the night, apparently attempting to see who could break the wall in half first, and making out doesn’t quite describe what they were doing to each other but hey, the point is the music was THAT good. The tunes being played were dynamic and infectious, pulling the audience in and pushing them out again in a violent succession; people were going crazy. A cool fact about the Observatory: it has the strange quality of a movie theater when you’ve picked a seat pretty close to the screen; everything feels very in your face and in my opinion, adds a sort of intimacy factor that other venues just don’t have. More simply put and like my friend said upon entering: “Wohh, everything feels so close.”
Anyway, back to the people going crazy thing I mentioned earlier; we saw all manor of things go down at this show, from the wall-wrecking mashers to a mosh girl whose hoop earrings could have been just a little bit larger…just a little bit. She was all about the mosh pit, and good for her, except I’m not gunna lie I was terrified for those earlobes of hers. She finally got the hint and took them off, however where she stored those babies I cannot begin to guess. During Plastician’s set, Joker came onstage to grab some vodka, and apparently to play a good old game of ping pong with him too, because he definitely had a ping pong paddle in his hand, poised and ready to go. Watching the antics onstage was nothing short of entertaining; they were obviously having a great time, and so was the audience, to say the very least. The entire show was, in a word, perfect.
For those of you who do not know or need a quick reminder: Pawn and Kelly Dean are both members and producing artists of SMOG. Pawn is known for his dynamic California-style and charismatic production; he’s also known for playing a fundamental role in pushing L.A. dubstep forward. Kelly Dean is known for his productions in both dubstep and drum and bass, as well as his dance floor style remixes. Footsie makes up one-half of ‘Newham Generals,’ the other half being D Double E, and they are among the most respected and critically acclaimed underground acts in the UK today. Son of Kick is a London-based DJ and instrumentalist with a reputation for the unpredictable and a super-charged set. Joker began his rise into the U.K. electronic/club scene at 16, is a highly regarded mixing engineer and in 2011 released his debut album The Vision. Last, but most-certainly not least, Plastician is respected as one of the true pioneers of both Dubstep and Grime genres, he plays a weekly radio show Wednesdays from 9-11 p.m. on Rinse FM and is noted for being the first DJ to play tracks by Emalkay, Joker, 12th Planet and many more. If you didn’t know, hopefully that helped, and if you did, a little reminder never did a person wrong.
There was so much great music and so much talent running through the room on Saturday night it all seemed melded together into a big ball of “Holy shit are you hearing this?” Several times during the night I spied the one and only 12th Planet rocking out to his family’s tunes like he couldn’t even believe it. The SMOG team definitely gave their fans a gem of a night, or I should really say that they gave them a blunt and cold beer of a night, because God knows there was no shortage of that in the house! It was definitely a top-notch night, one I would be more than happy to repeat.
Peep some of the footage from the night below and as always, carry on…