As rain descended upon LA at the start of winter, I found myself looking for a groovy way to stay dry. Luckily, HARD put together a little show with Lancaster duo Bondax. The two have been having a massive year, breaking out of their small, almost unheard of town and releasing some of the grooviest, most danceable garage I’ve heard in a long while. Imagine Disclosure slowed down a few BPM infused with tech-house and disco – I’m talking serious grooves here, and the kids are only teenagers!
The Roxy was the perfect venue for this show. It’s small, intimate, and has very few lights, making for a great place to focus on the music instead of production values. That’s what I liked most about this show overall (and really what I like about HARD’s events in general), the music comes first.
Up first was Bones. I only got a taste of his set, but it sounded to be pretty similar to his normal fare with a bit of extra tech thrown in there. I’m always happy to see him on a lineup – he always knows how to start off a night properly, whether it be here or at Dim Mak Studios.
Kingdom provided the direct support for Bondax. He played a very interesting set – it started off incredibly tech, slowly increasing the volume of hip-hop influenced tracks until he was playing either straight up hip-hop or energetic trap. Some in the crowd argued that he was playing a little too hard and fast in preparation for Bondax, but the vast majority of the crowd was excited by the multiple changes in pace he made throughout the set. In the end he brought the energy down and left Bondax with a perfect opening.
Now, I was incredibly curious to see how Bondax would take their slow, chilled-out sound and reformat it for the club, if at all. The two have a great dynamic together – they don’t mix in unison like many other duos, but instead switch off complete control of the decks every few songs. That being said, the style between the two is pretty similar – combining tech-house, deep house, and hip-hop to make for an incredibly high energy and groovy set. It was really incredible to watch them take their laid-back style and turn it into something so energetic and special. They started off big and didn’t slow down really at all – one of the first tracks was Justin Martin’s remix of their single ‘Baby I Got That’, a perfect example of a slow jam re-contextualized for a club environment. Besides their own tracks, they played some of my favorite jams from a variety of genres, throwing down Ben Pearce’s ‘What I Might Do’ for a good measure of deep house. They closed the night with the biggest names in trap, playing Kanye’s ‘Mercy’ and a couple TNGHT tracks for good measure.
This show left me with an incredible good feeling in my body and a refreshed look on dance music. Regardless of genre tags or whatever, these are just two kids playing music they love for people they love, and that really shows both in their music and in their live performance.