Halloween. A Trap fan’s Christmas. For the last ten years, RL Grime has been releasing a mix on this hallowed day and after almost a decade of going the direct-to-SoundCloud route, he’s brought it to the live stage. Last year was the inaugural edition of Halloween Live and with his ever-growing Sable Valley label behind him, he absolutely torched The Hollywood Palladium. This year he was back in his hometown putting on a Sable Valley Showcase to celebrate the biggest day of the year for Trap Music at the famous LA Forum in Inglewood, California.
Just like last year, the lineup included a deep roster of Sable Valley heavy hitters and exclusive b2b sets that you couldn’t find anywhere else. With three openers and a headline set debuting the new Halloween Mix, it was a truly special night.
So with the stage set, let’s get into the artists and a review of each of these one-of-a-kind live sets.
Hex Cougar b2b Pauline Herr
Hex Cougar and Pauline Herr are well-covered artists over at Heard It Here First and for good reason. The former has been bringing some of the cleanest genre-blending Trap & Wave to the scene in a long time. With multiple releases on the Sable Valley label, Hex is no stranger to RL Grime’s universe and was a welcomed addition to this unique lineup. Pauline Herr is another must-watch up-and-comer. With serious vocal chops and inventive sound design, Pauline Herr has been blowing up in the last few years BIG TIME. These two opened the night and knocked their inaugural set together out of the park.
These two were the first openers but based on their set you would never have guessed it. They put on a set of heavy-hitting Trap, Wave, and everything in between. With bangers like “Silo”, “Ghost”, and “Ur Body” Hex alone had a lot to pull from and a short amount of time to deliver it in. What they did do was give the early arrives a headlining quality set in thirty minutes and warmed up the dancefloor for the madness to follow.
Jawns b2b Montell2099
RL Grime opened the event with one completely unique b2b to his Halloween lineup but he didn’t stop there. Having Jawns and Montell2099 come together for a set was something fans couldn’t have conceived of before this event. Jawns, if you haven’t heard, makes some of the hardest-hitting Trap in the game and his use of synths is unparalleled. Montell2099, no noobie himself, comes over from New Zealand and has carved out a unique lane for himself in innovative Trap sound over the years, gaining support from huge names like 21 Savage and Mura Masa. Both b2b artists have multiple fire releases on Sable Valley, so it was no surprise that they were on the lineup, but having them play together was an unexpected treat.
Without knowing exactly what to expect from this first-time b2b I was not disappointed. These two came together to mix classic 2000s vocals into monstrous trap and DnB drops. DnB fans absolutely feasted during this set. One of the highlights of the set was a DnB remix to the stage-destroying “In Your Head” (RL Grime Edit) that set Forum on fire. While they only had forty five minutes to play, these two did not mess around and by the end of the set, everyone in the audience was fully warmed up and ready to head into the last two sets of the night.
ISOKNOCK III (IsoXo b2b Knock2)
What can be said about these San Diego Water Boys that we haven’t said a thousand times before? ISOxo has redefined the Trap scene and his NiteRealm shows have been some of the highest-energy crowds seen in a long time. Knock2‘s distinct brand of bass house and trap bangers have made him one of the most popular acts on the trap circuit as well and his “Dashstar*” VIP edit has had kids bouncing through the roof all year long. They’ve played b2b before, so the expectations were high, but these two heavy hitters took those expectations and completely shattered the roof on them.
They came out swinging and didn’t let up for the full hour they spent on stage. While this set was reminiscent of other sets each had played individually in the past, it served as a demonstration of what they were looking to achieve with their new remix album, niteharts. niteharts features ISOxo songs remixed by Knock2, and Knock2 songs remixed by ISOxo which perfectly encapsulated the energy in this set. It felt like a combining of forces to create something greater than the sum of its parts. The tracklist included an immaculate blend of their released music, new remixes, and all-time trap classics with a fresh spin. Highlights were of course the “Dashstar*” VIP edit, “Chargé” IsoXO edit, and a bonkers edit of “Aarena”. By the end of this set, the crowd was no longer warming up and instead popping off. The time anticipation had ended and after three incredible appetizers, it was time for the main course.
The king of Trap. The pioneer of Sable Valley. Halloween’s biggest star. The man’s name is as synonymous with Halloween as Mcdonald’s is with fast food. He’s done a version of this set ten times without fail, but with this being his biggest show yet, he had to do something special to make it stand out.
The eagerly anticipated surprise of every Halloween Mix is who is going to be the special guest to introduce the mix. Last year, he got Neil DeGrasse Tyson which was his second biggest guest to date. (For those wondering, Guy Fieri was without a doubt his biggest guest of all time). To get the crowd ready to party, RL enlisted UFC and Boxing Host Bruce Buffer. Mr. Buffer appeared on-screen and delivered a pump-up speech to ready the audience for the madness to ensue.
After Bruce Buffer finished his monologue, RL Grime strode out onstage wearing a full astronaut suit complete with a shaded helmet snapped shut, and from the opening to the final track, he delivered one of the most complete audio/visual experiences I’ve ever seen. Not only did he debut what felt like twenty to thirty unreleased tracks, but he married them to head-exploding visuals alongside pyrotechnics and fireworks. With this show, he took what was a fan-favorite Halloween tradition and made it into the must-see electronic event of the fall.
As with all of his Halloween mixes, the tracklist was piled high with IDs, a strong blend of Rap, Trap, Bass, and the hottest bangers making the rounds today. Special call out to Fred Again... who had two remixes of his songs played, making him the most played non-trap artist of the set. Andrew Keyser was back directing the art and his long-standing history of success showed with this visual setup. The production was unlike anything seen at previous RL Grime shows and the care and effort from the team to make Dead Space a complete A/V experience was absolutely mind-blowing and appreciated by everyone in the crowd.
With this latest edition of the Halloween Series, RL Grime went above and beyond any possible expectations and has set the stage to make this event a can’t-miss occasion for years to come.
Listen to the mix below and let us know what you think in the comments!
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