Last Friday night at The Hub, the crowd’s energy was palpable in the silence between performances. The excitement at this A.S. Program Board event was infectious as we waited for Oxnard-native Madlib (also known as Quasimoto), a well-known multi-instrumentalist, DJ and producer. With highly acclaimed albums to his name like Madvillany and collaborations with artists like Erykah Badu and Talib Kweli, expectations were high.
The show opened at 9 p.m. with DJ Taurus Scott and his mix of hip hop and electronic beats. Scott, who names the genre “electronic glitch hop,” also incorporates rock elements in his music ranging from Metallica to Rage Against the Machine. He has performed at the world-renowned Low End Theory Club, an epicenter for established and emerging hip hop artists, and has traveled around the nation. Staying true to his reputation, he made sure it was difficult to stay still while he played his bass-heavy mixes. My personal favorite was his remix of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” There was a balance between the original RnB vibe and the drum and bass breaks that created an upbeat sound. The remix can be found on Scott’s SoundCloud page as well as his self-titled album.
Nocando took over around 9:15 p.m., praising Scott for his performance and introducing himself as a Los Angeles native before moving right into his verse of “Manchester,” a song produced by his own record label, Hellfyre Club. His strong performance was met with immense enthusiasm, leading him to test out new music on the audience.
“I feel like I’m in my living room,” Nocando said before starting a new song.
“You’re my new favorite rapper!” someone in the audience shouted, to which Nocando replied, “I’m top 10 in my list. Not a favorite yet.”
Overall, Nocando was highly interactive with the audience, encouraging them to sing along to his more upbeat raps. Other songs like “Hollywood” and “Sophistry and Illusion” were social criticisms weaved into intricate lyrics, which he powered through expertly. After his final song, “C’est La Vie,” Nocando thanked the audience and was met with energetic applause.
Finally, at 10 p.m., headliner Madlib entered, put on his headphones and let his music do all of the talking. The finesse in the way he transitioned from one track to the other was eagerly received by his fans in the crowd, who bobbed their heads nonstop and voiced their appreciation by either singing along or shouting Madlib’s name.
Expectations were surpassed tenfold. While mixing hip hop tracks like “Accordion” from the Madvillany album, Madlib incorporated elements from a wide variety of genres, such as Indian classical, jazz and rock.
It was easy to see why he is one of the most influential artists of his generation; his experience was evident in his tracks as well as in his fervent fan base.
As the performance continued, however, the energy of the audience thinned; that might have been due to the fact that most of it was spent on the previous performances and it was nearing midnight. Regardless, when Madlib ended the performance with a slight smile, there was overwhelming applause, cheers and demands like, “We want more! We want more!” Even though there wasn’t an extended performance, the ecstatic expressions on the fans’ faces as they filed out said it all.
I left The Hub with the same expression, star struck by the fact that Madlib was only feet away from me and excited that I was able to be a part of such energetic performances. Beats continued to pulse in my brain even as I walked out and I was glad that I could at least relive the experience in my head. I’m glad to have been a part of the performances and would definitely go again in a heartbeat.
A version of this story appeared on page 8 of Thursday, November 21, 2013’s print version of the Daily Nexus.