Paper Diamond, Loudpvck and Manic Focus captivate The Orange Peel

By Brian Vu – Staff Photographer – bvu@unca.edu

Photos by Brian Vu - Staff Photographer Kenny Beats of Loudpvck hyping up the crowd during Paper Diamond's set on Thursday at The Orange Peel.
Photos by Brian Vu – Staff Photographer
Kenny Beats of Loudpvck hyping up the crowd during Paper Diamond’s set on Thursday at The Orange Peel.

The calm before the storm, the uneasy feeling of anticipation that comes with almost every electronic dance show looms. Smokers bear the freezing temperatures outside while eyes of the people inside dance around between their close circle of friends. The tension in the room builds to almost unbearable levels, but the lights come on, the speakers turn up and the smokers all rush in side.

“The Cold Crush Tour” featuring Paper Diamond, Loudpvck and Manic Focus hit its fourth stop in Asheville, beginning in Birmingham, Ala. The artists encompass a range of music from electronic-soul to the more aggressive trap.

The staff was strict in their door policy, not even allowing press in before their scheduled time. People who were turned away sought refuge in local coffee shops and the public library downtown.

For the next 45 minutes small talk made its way through the crowd, bored before the music began. When my boredom was about to reach its limit, Raw Russ began his DJ set.

Looking around a couple songs into the set, it was like Russ’s music had summoned people out of thin air. The half-empty venue filled up within matter of minutes. Denver native, Raw Russ wasn’t on the bill, but everyone contented themselves with dancing to his music.

John McCarten, known as Manic Focus was the first opener on the bill. McCarten kept the energy flowing in the audience with his mix of groovy electronic music.

The transitions and build-ups in McCarten’s music put the audience into a trance of anticipation. The vocals that he sampled proved to be favorites throughout the night. The producer from Chicago definitely had the calmest set to listen to, but enjoyable nonetheless. The audience could groove to McCarten’s music, but it didn’t make them want to break the walls.

Up next came Loudpvck, a relatively-new project formed by Kenny Beats and Ryan Marks from Los Angeles. After only being around for a year and a half, they’ve already made a big name for themselves in EDM.

During Loudpvck’s set the crowd teetered on the verge of a full-on riot. Characterized by aggressive bass and synth, the trap music duo brought the most intensity to the venue and took the audience into a proper frenzy. Trap music is characterized by aggressive bass and synths.

“Loudpvck was just nuts, it was just so grimey. They had the crowd in their hands,” Miller said.

Loudpvck’s set was definitively the “grimiest” of the night. At this point the music crowd has gotten a little tired of trap, but after Thursday night it seems trap might not be dead after all.

According to Loudpvck’s Kenny Beats, they’ll be supporting Paper Diamond for the rest of his national tour and they are hoping for a big year.

“This year we’re planning on releasing an all original EP,” Beats said.

Loudpvck’s music has been mostly remixes, as much of EDM is. When asked about music festivals, Beats hinted there would be a possibility of performing them, but declined to comment on specific details.

Alex Botwin, known as Paper Diamond on stage, is an electronic music producer from Colorado. Botwin, known for his wide range of original electronic music has made notable use of an iPad on stage to control his music and light show, something not commonly seen

Botwin stunned the audience with an amazing laser light show and sampled hit after hit, from Wiz Khalifa to Rich Homie Quan. Paper Diamond had his finger on the pulse of the audience, resulting in a very rewarding show.

Many EDM shows have a low period during transitions, but Paper Diamond captivated the crowd all night, evident by the non-stop movement with the audience giving ecstatic feedback throughout. “Oh s**t!” seemed to be the most common phrase Thursday night. The loudest cheering came when Botwin played his Wildfire remix originally by SBTRKT. Botwin’s music had a quality that many artists can’t capture. The audience just couldn’t stop moving.

“Paper Diamond dropped a lot of hip-hop beats, he had more variety than the other acts,” Miller said.

It’s only the beginning for this group of adrenaline raising maniacs with more than 20 stops remaining on the tour.

See more photos from the show in the gallery.

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