Tokimonsta, Dumbfoundead, and Far East Movement combined forces to put on a fourth rendition of their Spam N Eggs festival last week, a one night event that pays ode to the K-town music scene. A wide array of notable artists – from Chuck Inglish and Starkey to special guest Boys Noize –stepped into the the legendary Park Plaza Hotel to pay their respects.
From the main lobby to the "Eggs" ballroom to the outdoor "Spam" patio, the space for this event was sold to capacity, but when powerhouses Far East Movement hit the stage at 11, there was still plenty of space in the back-half of the patio to freely perform acrobatics, insta-selfies, and twerk (not necessarily in that order). Both the Spam Patio and the Eggs Ballroom sported large, metal-beamed stages that both had giant LED screens that reacted with various arrays of visuals in response to the music. A highlight was the spotlights emerging like eyes in the night from the Patio's stage design.
All night, the fans came in droves to the Spam Patio. By the end of Leisure Sports Players Club, in what seemed like in a mere instant, a blink of an eye, the crowd doubled, the visuals morphed, and Mr. Carmack walked on the stage. Early into Carmack's set, the thump of his bass shook the whole patio. I was getting ready for a Bobby Shmurda "Hot Nigga" remix to drop any minute, but then he seamlessly shifted into Flylo-esque Until the Quiet Comes sound collages - a chill-out vibe that greeted the incoming crowd.
Cruising into the Ballroom after Mr Carmack's set, I was slammed by the audio gravitas of Rell the Soundbender's heavily layered bass tones. It was weirdly kinda shoegazey. Unlike Carmack who let up off the tension after a while, Rell successfully simulated a San Andrean earthquake by pushing the giant arching subs to their limits. I stood there in awe before walking a couple feet and having my mind blown again by the radically different, hip hop-centric set going down in the gold room by yet another artist I've never heard of - Boogie.
Proh connected me with fellow Far East comrade Kev, who gave me some insight on the scene: "We grew up here we started here. When you're driving down the streets you really get a sense of the growth," he began. "The multicultural aspect of [Los Angeles] influences Far East Movement every time we do a project, album or a tour. Nothing beats coming home 'cause you can't miss this!"
Before I went back out to the patio to catch Far East Movement, I got a chance to talk to up-and-coming rhymesayer Yultron (Peep: Flexin) off the cuff about the huge variety of people in the scene, how mainstream has changed, the works.
"It's crazy to see that what is street music now is what mainstream is," he told me. "You could put yourself online and millions of people will listen to it without the mainstream major label support – without the system telling you what's cool, what's mainstream, what to listen to"
These three introduced themselves (from left to right) as Space Faerie, Black Magic, and Project Doll. When I asked themto describe Spam n Eggs in one word, they exclaimed, "Rabbit hole!" (That's two words, btw). I asked if they were on drugs. Space Faerie responded, "We had our days with help from our chemical friends. But tonight we're here to support our Low End Theory homies. And for the record it's spelt F-A-E-R-I-E." duly noted Madam Fairy.
Then came the surprise. Boys Noize, sporting his signature unibrow, came on at the apex of the night with the crowd roaring, and from the lobby to the patio the hotel had finally reached capacity. Boys Noize who was one of two special guests of the night, brought his signature hard techno edge into the patio's mix. The crowd had certainly broken a sweat when belting their favorite lines during Far East's set earlier, but tracks from Boys Noize's Go Hard EP awoke the crowd with a determination to enjoy the rare set rather than pull out their phones to snapchat it.
Maybe his set brought too much energy, because it seemed the SpamnEggers were too rinsed to stick around for Starkey's riveting set of new material and live foray's into his Blaster EP material, but hey, it was approaching the 2am mark and K-Town is not Barcelona (unless you know the right people).
In the almost-morning scene fans with droopy eyes exited out of the patio bumping their heads down Park View. Random glimpses down Wilshire on the way home that night with Tokimonsta's "Realla" blasting in our earbuds - it just made sense, man. Koreatown's spectrum of sound, a culture hidden beneath its mid-wilshire scenery, is no doubt one of the few remaining jewels of the LA underground.