It’s a Cold World: The Gaslamp Killer Burns Down IglooFest

After seeing his set at Montreal's IglooFest, Son Raw pays tribute to the Low End Theory detonator.
By    January 21, 2015

rsz_thibault_carron_if_25Photo Credit: Carron Thibault

Son Raw kills by torchlight

It’s sometimes easy to forget Gaslamp Killer is one of the best DJs on Earth. His Soundcloud has one single mix from over 4 years ago. His SoCal base of operations, while brilliant for smoking and psych records, tends to emphasize production and performance over selection and extended club sets. He’s also unbeholden to genre, connecting the dots between singular artists of all styles regardless of hype, which further separates him from musicians who feel the need to conform to the flavor of the month. Basically, he doesn’t go through the motions expected from one of the top DJs in the world, but every time I catch him live, I’m very quickly reminded that he could murk just about anybody on the decks.

Side note: when I played at Low End Theory (yes that happened, no I won’t stop mentioning it – you can’t take that shit away from me), I  went on after a set where  he mixed, scratched, toasted on the mic and detonated 808 kicks with an iPad. The place was mostly down with my shit, but waiting for the end of his set was like standing in the ring when Goldberg’s theme music was blasting circa 1999 in terms of psychological mind fucks. One does not simply mix records after this guy.

This weekend, he played Igloofest, which is still my principal source of enjoyment during Montreal winters, and somehow got the crowd to react to the Turkish psych rock from his upcoming album like it was the easiest of club bangers. Then he followed that up with exclusives from Flying Lotus and Lunice, unreleased James Blake, a Yams tribute and bass music that stretched from Cali to Belgium. He ended with a Donuts deep cut.

On paper, this is the kind of set you save for a BBC Radio 1 mix instead of an outdoor festival in sub zero weather, but by force of skills and personality, he not only got the crowd on board but had them in the palm of his hand. It was the kind of performance where the DJ made it look like he was sharing records with a bunch of friends, but in front of thousands. Outside. In the cold. Now that’s a daunting prospect even if you’re planning on mixing crowd pleasing fluff, but to maintain such a direct connection with such a large audience while going so left field is what separates a great DJ from someone who’s on some next level outer space shit that don’t even make no sense.

Now back to my original point: Gaslamp Killer doesn’t always get his props because he doesn’t hype himself up, so let me do it for him: catch him live, now. Hype train or not, he’s one of the best doing it.

Oh, and that album is sounding like it could cause some damage as well.

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