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Xavier Wulf, Eddy Baker, Idontknowjeffrey, and Mikey Rotten have been zipping across the country since mid-April on the Midnight Club Tour: Dub Edition. The 29-date tour looked like one of the rawest, grittiest, adrenaline-fueled, genre-bending tours in the hip hop world today. Each of these artists not only push the boundaries on their own music, but are also frequent collaborators who have made a name for themselves with their live shows. Looking over the tour dates, I was stoked to see their second-to-last show of the two-month stretch was at The Novo in Los Angeles. This was one I needed to get a taste of live.  

Opening after the tour DJ was Mikey Rotten. Out of all the artists on the bill, this was the one I was most interested in seeing live, and the last thing he did was disappoint. His music is a high-octane cocktail of rap, punk rock, and pure recklessness. Donned in tattered black clothing and blood red hair, the Louisiana-native set it off with a bang as he performed his unique style of music that defied the norm. Backed up by a guitarist, Mikey’s set was freckled with mosh pits and stage diving. When shooting shows, I’m typically comfortable in the photo pit. I have my spot; I’m aware of my surroundings. Everything’s in front of me. This time around, I had Mikey’s body parts flying in the air, photographers scrambling like mice, and the guitarist’s electric guitar cord constantly wrapping around people. It was pure chaos, and I loved every second of it. Despite it being primarily a rap show, the crowd also really bought into Mikey Rotten’s punk rock vocal style and energy. In classic punk rock fashion, Mikey and his guitarist wrapped up the set by smashing their guitar against the stage floor.

Idontknowjeffrey took to the stage shortly after. The disrespectful MC reeled it right back to a more traditional but still grim style of hip hop. He took the crowd on a lyrical journey as he rapped over a slew of very dark trap beats. After about 25 minutes, Idontknowjeffrey was joined by Eddy Baker, Mikey Rotten, and finally Xavier Wulf. To songs like “The Manager” and “Hoonigan”, Xavier Wulf reminded the crowd why he’s one of the best at this style of hip hop. Mikey Rotten, Eddy Baker, and Idontknowjeffrey took turns weaving their own material in and out of Xavier Wulf’s setlist. Since they’ve worked together over the years, it felt natural the way they entwined each other’s features into their own sets. I really enjoyed this style of performing because it gave the audience a sample of each artist’s catalog throughout the night. It never got stale. Additionally, Bones hit the stage in a surprise appearance and played songs like “Airplane Mode” and “RedAlert”. The fans completely lost their mind to this Seshhollowwaterboyz throwback. They were happy to see that Bones hung around picking up a few songs of his own throughout the main set before they finally hung it up for the night.

The Midnight Club Tour: Dub Edition was one for the books. As I write, the gang’s finishing their last show in San Diego. I’m glad I was able to catch the tail end of this. The artists on this bill are without a doubt the kings of the underground, architects of this hip-hop counterculture, and serve as the dark underbelly of rap music. If we’re lucky enough to get another run of this tour and you have an interest in the edgier rawer form of hip hop, you need to add this to your to-see list. Wear comfortable shoes and hold onto your hat. It’s a wild one!

Kris Kuganathan

Photojournalist - Orange County

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