Manila Killa played at Brooklyn Steel to a nearly sold-out crowd this past Saturday, April 27th in support of his new EP 1993. He was supported by Ilo Ilo, Brooklyn-native Melvv, and The Day One Project, a community of creatives made up of primarily dancers that were showcased in the recently released dance video for "Atypical." An unexpected but welcome collaboration was between Manila Killa and Boba Guys, where they came up with a calamansi lychee green tea fresca, a refreshing drink that we quickly topped off with sneaky vodka.
The show began at 8 pm with Ilo Ilo opening and they played until 8:55 pm, where a smiling Melvv took the stage and played an hour-long slot filled with funky beats, his new release "Right Side Up" with Manila Killa and Sophia Black, and a set that got us in the mood to keep dancing. Melvv had a smile the entire time so it was clear that he was genuinely enjoying his time with the crowd. It felt like he was part of the audience - chilling and dancing with the rest of us.
At around 10 pm, the floor started to crowd rapidly as Manila Killa was scheduled to play at 10:10 pm. The crowd was predominately Asian, but that could be due to the fact that the fans are drawn to one of the few Asian DJs who genuinely represents his heritage. A nervous and stoic-looking Manila Killa took the stage after what felt like 20 minutes after his scheduled time and opened with synth-heavy track, "1993", the tour's namesake.
The stage setup was rather simple and followed the trend of live setups where a traditional deck is accompanied by a pair of drum pads, launchpad, and a mic for singing one of his singles, “Run Away.” It all sat on top of clear stands. The visuals were simple yet emotionally compelling when played with the songs and thematically resonated with the nature and landscape theme he and his visual artists created.
Throughout the night, it became clear that while Manila Killa is more popular on the West Coast, East Coast fans have just as much love for his music, nearly selling out one of our favorite venues, Brooklyn Steel. Looking at the age of the crowd and being a 16+ show, it was nice to see everyone bumping to the set and getting along relatively well, showing that his music resonates on a personal level regardless of age.
As the set progressed and fans were jumping and dancing more, I noticed how often they would sing along to his lyrics, proving how catchy his music is. Fans knew the words to his older songs word for word. The idea that his music was meant to be enjoyed with other people was further cemented by seeing friends, couples, and strangers bonding and connecting on the dance floor, if only for one night.
The vibe of the night shifted into something more lively when The Day One Project team came on stage to perform their dance to “Atypical”, a well-choreographed performance where Manila Killa himself danced towards the end and showed off his smile, something that seemed hidden in the beginning due to nerves. He appeared to start enjoying himself after loosening up, and I think the crowd noticed that energy.
As the night came to a close and he ended with a slower edit of "1993," the lights came on and a group photo was taken. He thanked the crowd for being so great and explaining that NYC was like a second home, so the Brooklyn show obviously meant so much to him. We think you should check out his show, so be sure to grab tickets here before they potentially sell out.