You know you're doing something right when you sell out your original show and have to play another earlier show to keep up with your fans. That's what Ekali did last Friday, November 2 at The Sinclair when he played his heart out twice in a row on the same night, at the same venue, to two different rooms of excited show-goers.
I was excited to finally see the opening act, 1788-L, after all the hype surrounding him but I couldn't help feel a little disappointed. Listening to what sounded like the same drop over and over again did not interest me much at all. I like a few of his singles on Soundcloud, but on a live speaker system, the loud screeches and various noises overwhelmed my ears even with earplugs. I'm always mindful of keeping an open mind towards other genres of electronic music, but this was just not it.
1788-L played for an extra 20 minutes, and then Ekali came on around 11:50 PM. The room's energy was instantly livened from a seemingly bored state to something completely different. People were jumping with their friends, some were head-banging, elbows were being thrown, and some were throwing their bodies into other's personal space.
I greatly enjoyed Ekali’s visuals and cube set design. They’re eye-catching but not overdone and are relatively simple compared to the visuals of someone like Excision. Not that his visuals are in anyway bad - I think they’re insane actually. The calmer visuals fit Ekali’s aesthetic more and gives his sets a certain “brand” genuineness. The cubes provided a vital physical visual element to the show and thought it was pulled off well. Using something that wasn't overly intricate but still provided strong visual identity was pretty smart. His visuals consisted of greenery in the form of palm trees bringing you to something out of a hidden desert oasis or video game where you stumble upon a deserted ancient city that’s been overtaken with vines and shrubbery.
After the show ended, and despite having to be very tired and sweaty, Ekali hung around in the rain under the shelter of a little nook to hang and talk with his fans. That was great to see because it's obvious he loves his fans and they mean a lot to him. According to his recent Instagram post, he's back home now working on his full length album and getting some much needed rest.
Cover photo courtesy of Julian Cassady. Follow him on Instagram.