As I settled into my cushioned corner and zipped up my jacket further in hopes of staying warm on a cold November night, Alxxs Garza started to play. The familiar green and purple lights of Stereo Bar illuminated the early patrons of the event. Alxxs played universally liked electro house, and had beautiful transitions as usual. The crowds in Stereo came and went as groups of friends passed through trying to get their last nicotine fix before retreating to El Rey to stay warm and listen to BK Beats and The 1960 Sci-Fi Era and eventually the headliner, Cashmere Cat.
Yielding to the cold, I retreated as well to the innards of El Rey and was greeted by the heavy beats and tender, uplifting chords that I associate with BK Beats’ live performances. The crowd in front of the stage was more condensed than the rest of the audience, but people were dancing all over. I went to the bar to get a beer, watching the social workings of the mass of fans from afar before diving in myself.
The venue slowly got more crowded as The 1960 Sci-Fi Era joined BK Beats on stage. The two work together seamlessly to create an intricate and energetic tropical/trap set. As more people joined the audience, more people started dancing. I figured I should make my way to the front of the crowd before it got too much for me. I followed the flow of the audience; ultimately arriving to the duo’s left. Not too long after that, their smooth and bubbly set was complete and the stage went dark.
After a few minutes of double checking that the tables were working, Cashmere Cat came onto the stage. The entire crowd applauded and cheered. He began his set with no introduction, as if he needed one, but it added to the atmosphere of humbleness that he radiated.
I’ve never seen so many people cat-themed; I think I’m going to call his fans Cutie Catz. I saw many cat-ear headbands, cat shirts, furry vests with hoods and rounded ears, and even a hooded Cheshire Cat onsie. The crowd reflected Cashmere’s lovable reserve. Distinctly different from most crowds I’ve dealt with at large venues, everyone was friendly and excited to share the experience.
I never thought I–not to mention a huge crowd of EDM and pop enthusiasts –could truly enjoy and get down to a playful vibraphone and harp synth drop. I suppose the springy beats and elastic vocals contribute; overall Cashmere’s style is gentle, which is truly an extension of him. While he may have not spoken to us, he was very active and engaging in other ways.
He was there to bring his followers joy, but not at the cost of his own. He was consistently more energetic than the crowd; when the crowd would recover after dancing to a particularly hard drop, he remained lively and bouncy. He only stopped dancing to focus on important transitions (which were flawless) and to throw kawaii peace signs at the audience.
Cashmere relied heavily on vocal samples, which makes sense, given that he’s worked with the music of some notable artists like Lana Del Rey and 2 Chainz (as remixes/edits), Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West and was a featured producer of Ariana Grande’s album My Everything. Unlike many DJs I’ve seen, Cashmere was able to truly weave the vocals through the music as transitions or as an instrument rather than for self-promotion or using them as a message to the youths in the crowd to get turnt. As a person, I found him adorable, and as a musician, I found him exceedingly excellent.
Cashmere created an environment of pure, innocent, romantic joy in his electronic dreamscape. His performance is the top tier of electronic shows. The entire crowd enjoyed the active and energetic set by Cashmere; I can only hope he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him.