“Isn’t this the best prom ever guys?” Ludjy Derisier, producer and co-organizer of East Meets Beats, jokes with a crowd of familiar faces huddled before the stage where he stands, beaming with excitement. His remark was punctuated by the audience’s laughter as everyone in the room can acknowledge that this was not the standard set up for an East Meets Beats showcase. The change of scenery was in order, given that the night marked the two year anniversary of EMB shows, and, by extension, their mission to shine a light on the world of underground music in the Boston/Cambridge area.
EMB is great at keeping things fresh by always having various artists and venues on rotation for their monthly shows. They have defined themselves as a close-knit, welcoming group in the music community and their intimate venues are often a reflection of these qualities. Typically hosted in spaces that are smaller, and, consequently, more tightly packed, this month’s showcase was in a spacious, concert hall at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts which allowed for an atmospheric emphasis on the night’s celebration.
Breakdown of the Anniversary
Ludjy, known also by his producer name, Hollowz, kicked off the event with the first set of the night. Behind the decks he is incredibly composed. Playing a live set had the same cathartic effect on Ludjy as an oversized glass of red wine may have on a suburban mom. He is a boom-bap beat-extraordinaire that makes you realize that you had no idea what “chill” even meant until hearing some of his original work. Before he turns the stage over to the next performer, he requests that everyone would collectively take a step toward the stage like family. It’s this kind of genuine friendliness and care for the audience’s enjoyment of the show that sets the mood for the rest of the night.
With the crowd nice and warm, Boston producer, Kansado began to lay down a variety of dancey beats which in his own words consisted of “a lot of new originals, and also a lot of unoriginals.” There was no one acting too shy or like they were too cool with their backs up against the wall which can often be the case at smaller, more intimate shows. The great thing about EMB is that no one is too shy to dance and when you looked around the room virtually everyone was bouncing to his set, which is bound to happen when you draw musical inspiration from your Dominican roots such as Kansado’s.
The Queen of Boston
The third set of the night belonged to veteran performer Leah McFly, who was notably referred to as the “the Queen of Boston,” and rightfully so. McFly had no trouble keeping the high energy of the night going with a slew of intense build-ups paired with explosively bass-heavy drops. She was also generous enough to showcase her masterful scratching technique without breaking a sweat.
Enthusiasm and Reassurance
To close the evening off, Mark Redito took the stage for a set that couldn’t be described lesser than effervescent. Redito can be characterized by his lively on-stage presence that exudes lightheartedness and a genuine desire for everyone to have the best time possible. He dared everyone in the room to have more fun than him but I can’t say I saw anyone successfully match his enthusiasm. It’s always refreshing when an artist jams the fuck out to their own set, showing that you don’t always have to let the music do all the talking.
Every time I go to an EMB show I leave with a reassuring reminder that there are people in my city who work hard to share their love for good music. Two years of whirling dance floors is an impressive milestone, and I hope to see the showcases continue for many more years in the future. Now that you know what’s good on the last Saturday of every month- I’ll see you at East Meets Beats.