Gramatik punctuates Valentine’s show with an ‘!’

Tahoe Onstage

Gramatik’s dramatic lighting sets the scene in the jam-packed Cargo Concert Hall.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Shaun Astor

A cold Valentine’s Day evening brought the Re:Coil tour through downtown Reno’s Cargo, headlined by electronic music producer, Gramatik. Once inside, sans jackets, the tightly packed concertgoers made it clear the night’s energy was going to be straight wild rather than any type of typical Valentine’s evening chill.

Oakland’s Balkan Bump opened, and immediately, even as the room was still filling in during the club’s prompt start time, dance circles were forming and the cheers grew steadily after his songs. Balkan Bump plays a live trumpet over his beats, combining performances of looped parts of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” with demonstrating his brass dexterity, hitting a range of tones from almost French chanteuse-sounding songs to Mediterranean ambiance.

Haywyre, an 8-year-old project from Indiana’s Martin Vogt, amped up the already sweaty room. Playing an improvisational upright keyboard over his glitch- and tweak- heavy beat production, the tone took on an almost sexy form of funk. With vocal samples from OutKast and Michael Jackson, and his keys transitioning from jazzy arpeggios to a slap bass funk, combined with an extremely digitized aural production, his music wouldn’t seem so far from if Zapp & Roger were to up their BPMs and turned the output levels up to 20.

With the energy in the room palpable, and little downtime between sets, Gramatik took the stage behind large floor and backdrop video screens. The elder statesmen tone – given his prolific amount of work and intense touring schedule over the past few years – was present, as the black-hat, black-sunglasses figure took his spot in the shadows and smoke of the stage.

His touring guitarist, Adam Stehr, added balance to the stage, and threw in his own bluesy-guitar elements to take Gramatik’s production to another level. Playing each song off of his Re:Coil EP at some point over the course of his set, Gramatik also brought out Balkan Bump (the most recent signing to Gramatik’s Lowtemp record label), making the live output of Gramatik’s onpoint beats punctuated by Stehr’s rhythms and Balkan Bump’s explosive soundbursts whilst moving across the stage take on an almost rock concert vibe.

Drinks were spilled, strangers danced, the room seemed enveloped in the energy coming from the stage. After nearly two hours, the light production dimmed and the music quieted, and the dance floor at Cargo seemed awash in the post-climactic glow of a group of hundreds following a four-hour blast of music that seemed to hit right on the mood of the night.

-Shuan Astor

Shaun Astor / Tahoe OnstageTahoe Onstage

Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

Haywyre gets the crowd wired up.
Shaun Astor

Tahoe Onstage

Balkan Bump plays a trumpet over his beats.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

About Shaun Astor

Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations.

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