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 When I was asked the day before the show if I wanted to cover Beats Antique‘s concert at the Fonda Theater, I was excited, but I was not prepared for what I was about to witness. Best sounds like a hyperbole for the sake of journalism, but Beats Antique put on what might be the best show I have ever seen. Everything about the night was breathtaking, from the incredible performances of the openers, SORNE and Ill-esha, to the stunning visuals and musicality of Beats Antique‘s set. It only helped matters that the Fonda is truly a beautiful venue and its sound was both bombastic and clear.

Not a minute after we entered the venue, the first band, SORNE, started playing. Their set started with drone like vocals and built up into a frenzied mess of jungle drums and ethnic textures. Now SORNE incorporates plenty of electronic elements, but they are in no way EDM. The trio consisted of a drummer, a DJ and an insane singer. The singer, Morgan Sorne, was clearly the master behind the band and his performance was downright incredible. His voice was at times operatic and airy and at other times dramatic and full. His range of both pitch and styles of singing made his performance one of the most stunning I’ve ever seen from a vocalist. Even his middle eastern and indian style singing sounded incredibly authentic, as if it was indeed a woman from one of those places who was singing.

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SORNE‘s style of music is very hard to pin down, but it is somewhat of a mix of a dramatic film score, a drum corps and an operatic heavy metal band. Their stage presence and playing was very dramatic and intense, and it contributed to the energetic nature of their music. Their performance was unlike any other musical act I’ve ever seen. Even though I didn’t relate to the songs and the music so much, I still immensely enjoyed their excellence and passion.

Next up was the singer/producer/DJ extraordinaire, Ill-esha. When she first came up on stage I was thrilled to see that she was a she. Anyone who knows EDM knows that there is a serious shortage of female producers in the scene, so I paid extra close attention to her set. She started out subtly, with avante-garde hip hop/glitch hop beats and live vocals. The groove was impeccable and the songs (all produced by her) were unique and had a nice R&B feel to them.IMG_1687

I was beginning to get comfortable with her funky yet mellow set when she turned up the heat and started dropping bangers. And bangers they were. I remember being downright shocked when she dropped dubstep or glitch hop tracks that could easily hold their own with the those of the likes of Herobust and Gramatik. And on top of the tracks being grimy and energetic, they had a very defined sound. Coupled with her vocals and live DJ chops, it was certainly a phenomenal set. I must have pulled out my phone and attempted to shazam at least four times before I eventually gave up and enjoyed the set. The highlight of the set was probably her remix of Blackstreet‘s “No Diggity”.

Having been so wowed by both openers, I was a tiny bit scared of an underwhelming performance from Beats Antique. However, this was not the case. Throughout their whole set I was in awe, and there were countless times when I had goosebumps and my mouth simply hung open from astonishment. Everything about their show was impressive. The visuals were by far the best I had ever seen. They included everything from 3D mapping of a village to psychedelic and ethnic displays to a 30 foot tall blow up bear (I’ll get to that in a bit). Zoe Jakes’ dancing was superb and she added so much to the vibe of the show.

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The best part though, was of course the music. Beats Antique are phenomenal musicians and they were not afraid to show it off. Tommy Cappel played a huge extensive drumset that included both acoustic and electronic elements while David Sartori DJed and played a healthy assortment of instruments. Throughout the course of the set he played violin, guitar, melodica and bowed guitar. The use of live instruments went perfectly with the world music and ethnic vibes that their music is most known for. Though they used instruments, they certainly did not shy away from bass. Throughout the set they dropped plenty of gritty, intense and energetic dubstep and glitch hop that got everybody moving and dancing.

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The highlight of their set was definitely when they played the song ‘Doors of Destiny’ from their latest album. For the song, they recorded a fake kitschy game show and projected it on the stage. Zoe then brought up a member of the audience on the stage to choose one of three doors, which contained Eternal Damnation, Everlasting Life, or Unlimited Bandwidth. Of course, when the volunteer pressed the randomized button, it flipped to door 2, for eternal damnation. Then the game show distorted and everything turned glitchy and red as a huge bass boom reverberated throughout the room. They then dropped some of the heaviest dubstep I have ever heard as, out of nowhere, a gigantic blow up bear appeared and flailed about, hitting Zoe and the audience member both.

The show was nothing short of a masterpiece. Exquisitely curated by the Do LaB and Goldenvoice, who never have any issues with putting on a good show. If they’re swinging by your area anytime, you’d be doing yourself a favor if you bought a ticket. Otherwise, check out the video posted below.