This headline may come as a surprise to those who know Lynchburg, Virginia as the quiet little town that Liberty University calls home. I am overjoyed to admit I, along with hundreds of other local ragers, had one of the greatest night life experiences last Friday at the Paint Party presented by Lynchburg Concerts & Phase 2. My life will never be the same.
One positive aspect of bi-annual events in Lynchburg is the fact that when something does actually happen, the entire town attends and each person comes ready to throw down. Hosted just outside the main building at venue Phase 2, the Paint Party really set the standard for outdoor live music events in Virginia. They provided an impressive stage and, to my amazement, a massive supply of paint that seemed to have no end. My hat goes off to the guys over at Phase 2 for putting on such a phenomenal event, it had surely splattered my expectations and i’m sure many others’. Special thanks to @masterclipz for all the sick shots! Enough about all that though, lets get to the MUSIC.
Before the sun began dipping below the horizon, the local veteran DJ Ed had the early birds moving on the soon-to-be paint swamped dance floor. Even the older folks in the back were getting down to the Rap influenced Ultra vibes that the veteran DJ was throwing down. As more and more eager white clothed bodies entered the venue while the sun began to disappear, shades of orange, red, and purple streaked artistically across the sky.
In the days leading up to the show, I had seen the curious name Retrakx on the bill, but had absolutely no idea what to expect of the upcoming DJ/Producer coming from Lynchburg. As I waited in the crowd for the DJ’s to change, I remember begging the bass gods to bless me with some filthy Riddim (knowing deep down my hopes were high for a small town like Lynchburg) yet I prepared for the worst.
BUT TO MY SURPRISE, THIS KID THREW. THE HECK. DOWN.
I was pleasantly surprised by the performance that the Virginia native and Lynchburg resident, Ben Fuller, (Retrakx) had thrown down that chilly and paint covered night. It was the perfect happy medium in which the young DJ had enabled the virgin EDM ears of Lynchburg to ease into the ever increasing energy of the night. I was thoroughly impressed with the formerly unknown DJ’s ability to weave together each track in a seamless fashion, as well as the selection of tunes he had made. Among many others, Nghtmre’s remix of “Goosebumps”, Oliverse’s remix of “Afterlife”, and Herobust’s VIP of “Move Mint” had almost every single soul in the crowd raging and singing along as several gallons of paint cascaded over them.
When the time came for Breathe Carolina to take over the decks, the young and exuberant DJ began squeezing in the last couple tracks he had prepared for the night. One thing I really appreciated about the conclusion of Retrakx’ set was that he brought out another upcoming musician from Liberty University known as Sunjin, who he had collaborated with for the ridiculously filthy tune “Fractured” (which will be dropping very soon). It’s awesome to see such high caliber musical production coming up from this city, I’m excited to see what is in store for both artists. After Retrakx had thanked and congratulated the crowd for going so hard, he invited the teal Gibson Les Paul equipped Sunjin up to the stage, and the glitching mechanical melody of “Fractured” began sputtering out from the speakers, as sparks of energy floated throughout the crowd. While the spirits of the crowd began to rise, the paint infantry began filling its cannons/pitchers/water guns with the wet neon goo soon to flood the mass of dancing bodies.
As the highly talented Sunjin began solo-ing live over the build up of the final track, it seemed each person in the crowd felt lucky to be witnessing this special moment. I can only speak for myself when I say that the drop of Fractured combined with live guitar licks was quite possibly one of the hardest moments in Electronic Music history that I have ever witnessed. The tune boasts elements of Sullivan King-esque metal electric guitar strums as well as a fantastically heavy glitch bass which had the EDM lovers of Lynchburg clenching the rails and head-banging with me in beautiful unison.
Then, doubtful of the headliner’s ability to maintain the awesome energy Retrakx had brought just moments before, I watched the two veteran DJ’s of Breathe Carolina assume their positions behind the decks. Keeping in mind the fact that I had somehow never seen or heard of this group that many friends had vouched for prior to the show, I readied my dancing feet and kept an open mind. I was extremely glad that the two producers had successfully matched and even increased the energy from the set just before. With paint spraying throughout almost every inch of the crowd, fast paced bass house thumped through the sound system and a collage of smiles splashed over the crowd.
By the end of the show, I had come to the conclusion of a couple different things. Firstly, the biggest surprise of the night, Lynchburg can in fact go hard. Secondly, Lynchburg electronic music is here and theres much, much, more to come for the small town of Liberty kids and Lynchburg residents. Every single performance, from DJ Ed to Retrakx & Sunjin to Breathe Carolina, the crowd let loose and got down to each unique sound. You could say i’m particularly overjoyed at this turnout, looking out over the horizon and seeing hope for bass music, and music in general, to finally grace this beautiful town with its lovely sonic brilliance. Thank you Phase 2, DJ Ed, Retrakx, Sunjin, and Breathe Carolina for an incredible night.
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Dance like it hurts to stand still,