If someone would have told me six months ago that the Greensboro curators behind the Create. project were bringing two artists off the infamous Firepower Records label, I probably would have guessed PhaseOne and JPhelpz off top. While most of us were correct about our theory on bringing the St. Louis based thrasher for his North Carolina debut, we were all dead wrong on the second artist. The flyer cleanly read Chime. This left me slightly confused folks, because whenever I think of Firepower Records, I picture gunz-a-blazing firey Dubstep from the trenches of the grimiest cities around the world, not a wind chime. So I did what any other curious Basshead does – I peeped a few of his newer songs to get an idea on his style, and then I patiently waited until I could see the man mix in person. I think I speak for the entire room of headbanging-bassheads when I say that the twenty three year old producer from Leeds completely smoked our expectations out of the water.
But what happened next was something completely out of the ordinary… North Carolina got blessed with another Dubstep heavy hitter debust, as JPhelpz massively executed his headlining performance. After he wrecked our world at Lost Lands, it only made sense to experience the Shadow Sword expert in my hometown. It makes me happy to say that he certainly delivered. Let’s break down the evening real quick. To no surprise, I walked in to the Blind Tiger expecting to see my crazy friend Jordan Castle making his typical meme-able bass faces while Raleigh based swamp monster Snakko throws down some furiously gross tunes. Unlike all of his close Carolina supporters who follow his every move, I have only had the pleasure of catching Jordan perform a handful of times, so believe it when I say that I was excited to peep his back to back set with the mysterious Snakko. But it seems like Jordan Castle has been culminating a lot more energy and technique whenever he gets up behind the decks. On the other hand, this was my very first time watching Snakko perform. Nick is slightly shorter than Jordan, yet he sports a little scruff on his face that definitely makes him look like Jordan’s caretaker whenever they go back to back. Kidding folks. But there was a point in time where Snakko took over the decks and interrupted one of Castle’s fist pumping tunes to throw on a disgusting XaeboR remix of the infamous Chibs and Getorix collab, “Blazin.” Needless to say, this back to back was definitely worth catching first hand. I can’t wait for my next Castle x Snakko experience. In a clean transition, Castle and Snakko were quickly replaced by Raleigh’s very own mustache maniac, Devious. Joining him was the likes of his Queen City brother in Bass, the guy that everyone loves to hate (in a loving way of course), FREAKY. By this hour the crowd was growing anxious for the headliners of the night, but who can pass up a good Freaky b2b Devious set?
The boys threw down a tremendous amount of force as they showcased exclusive new tunes that their supporters have never heard before. Trap and Bass is 100% their game. We have to give a lot of props to Devious for popping out stage in a pink WEIRDOPE cap that had a fuzzy pink floofle on top. It definitely added a lot of pizzaz to their electrifying set. Big ups gentlemen. I took a break from all the stomping and made my way to the green room to grab some water. All the sudden I see a young and slightly familiar face on the other side, casually chatting with some of the Create. fam. He was wearing a black shirt that had Kirby etched out in a golden design – his swooshy brown hair and a pair of glasses rested on his face. Me being the social butterfly that I am, I introduced myself and asked if he was “Indeed Mr. Chime.” In a light British accent, very different than what I’ve heard from others like Thelem, Jam P R D, and Monxx, he responded “Yes that’s me!” He has a very young look to him, but after talking for a few minutes I come to find out he’s about a year older than I am. Chime is what I would call, an extremely focused producer. As he gripped his can of hard Cider, he casually answered any random question that I had about his career. He calls his style of music Color Bass, primarily because of its vibrant yet powerful nature. It’s not too aggressive, but never too melodic that you’d want to turn off the music and throw on some Riddim. Chime has certainly developed his own style, and while he’s never toured in the United States before, he’s figured exactly how to show off his skills in different cities across our nation – you know us Americans love our Dubstep. But honestly, it doesn’t matter what country you’re playing in, if you’ve got steez, know your way around a mixer, have no problem reading a crowd, carry relentless amount of energy and stave presence – if you can do that for sixty minutes then you’ve definitely turned the right person into a fan.
I heard about Chime’s experience in Oklahoma City as he played with one of his favorite rappers named Lonemoon, I heard about his experience in making music, and how back in the day he had produced a tune with one of his friends that got picked up for a video game, the guy has stories for days. If you ever get a chance to talk to him, I highly encourage you go say hello! Soon enough I found myself in the crowd wondering how come I’ve never discovered this talented producer sooner. Left and right I could see jaws dropping in awe as Chime effortlessly blew away the crowd with his clean transitions and heavy Bass Drops. Ravers from all over the East Coast flailed their arms in crazy, rapid motions as they dance away to the vibrant energy that flows off stage during a Chime set. After doing a more thorough study of the gentleman’s SoundCloud, I discovered tracks that I had recognized from the show. I got chills whenever Chime dropped the VIP to his infamous single “From Fairies to Fire.” His remix to Must Die’s! tune “Memory” along with other bangers like “Starstorm,“ “Head in the Clouds,“ and “Chronoception” with Portuguese producer Holly and Lonemoon turned the whole crowd livid. But my absolute favorite drop of the night what when Chime played his high intensity single with Lonemoon called “Chemistry.” The Riddim Professor approves of any tune that has to do with education – but all jokes aside, this tune is absolutely nasty and I’m certainly glad I got to discover it the right way. Huge ups to Chime, we’re honored that you slayed our state, and will gladly have you back any day of the year.
After the not-so-gentle Chime was through slaying his performance, I sat and wondered how exactly JPhelpz would follow up the colorful and impact fuel set that had just taken place. But it wasn’t too long ago that I was wandering around the main stage area of Lost Lands as the Missourian cycled through a selection of soul piercing singles that caused many members of the audience to nearly summon their inner demons on site. While I was a little surprised that it had taken me this long to catch a JPhelpz show, I ended up loving every second of his performance, which is part of the reasons I wound up at the Blind Tiger to catch him slay once again. He popped up on stage sporting his BIGGUP KING varsity jersey which practically matched the colors of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Whenever present at a live JPhelpz show, one gets the feeling that they’re enlisting for an aggressive war, where the participants just keep getting angrier as they unleash all their frustrations in the air with two solid clenched fists. It felt like a breeze of death air whenever JPhelpz dropped singles such as “Exterminate,” “GASLK VIP,” or “The Darkest Dungeon.”
I’d be lying if I said that JPhelpz is anything short of a cyborg hidden behind the flesh of a truly authentic producer. If you’ve ever felt like you weren’t born on this planet, or that you were crafted in a lab, or even crawled out of the darkest pits of this earth, I can assure you that stepping foot inside a JPhelpz arena will meet all of your non-human needs. Just take a listen to this insane collaboration with his Riddim brother in arms, Bommer, and tell me that you don’t feel like a walking computer from 1998. I remember grabbing onto random friends throughout the night as we all synchronized our cruel headbangs for JPhelpz set. The entire room dropped as soon as he put forth his infamous tune “LEVELED.” I could sit here all day and talk about the filth that this monster dropped on us throughout the night, but I much rather let these precious moments sink in your memory bank because this was by far one of the best Create. shows all year.
Before the night was over, I made my way over to the green room once more so that I could thank John for such a great evening. I had to give him props on that mindbending performance – the man literally turned me into a walking wobblefaced-headbanging-Riddimonster for over an hour, and I wasn’t even close to angry. I look over a mans and ask him “Hey man, can I live out a dream real quick and skank out to my #1 JPhelpz tune with you?” He looks over and says sure, what is it? Quicker than any of you could name your favorite flavor ice-cream, I pulled out my phone and threw on one of his older tunes known as “Shadow Sword.” When I say that we got the f*ck down to that tune off the Mech Bounce EP, I mean we got DOWN. I asked him if he could sign the Riddim Professor jacket and take a quick snap with me. This turned into a mini photo shoot with the fam. Huge shout out to both JPhelpz and Chime for making the Create. Finale such a special experience, until next time boys!
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