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  • Writer's pictureRyan ANTIART

CONCERT REVIEW: Drain Gang (03/18/22)

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

Location: Knockdown Center, Queens, NY

Grade: A-

This past weekend, I had my first ever opportunity to officially cover an event. It was the sold-out Drain Gang show at Knockdown Center in Queens. For those of you unfamiliar with Drain Gang, they are a Swedish artistic group of musicians, producers, graphic designers, models and more, the most notable members being Bladee, Ecco2k and Thaiboy Digital. Each person in the group has their own distinct aesthetic, niche fanbase and musical style. I have been to Knockdown before, but this is the most intense show I’ve seen happen there yet. For one, the show sold out in about 5 minutes. Thankfully, I was able to get passes to take some pictures alongside Kayla from the MyBloodyVirgins meme collective (shoutout to Jeff & Eli at KDC for the opportunity). The crowd was young and fashionable, adorned in frilly white tops, GothBoiClique tees and Vivienne Westwood necklaces.

The line to get in was packed, and when the metal grates opened to let concert goers in, everyone went ballistic. There was clearly a deep passion in the air, and it was marked by a thick layer of red-tinted smoke when we entered the venue itself. The first act was experimental DJ affiliate Kamixlo, who played an interesting mix of noise music and contemporary hyperpop-adjacent cult hits. Kamixlo definitely set the tone sonically and visually, dazzling the audience with strobe lights and you guessed it, more fog.

Being in the press pit for the very first time was an out of body experience. There was a giant space for me, Kayla and the two other photographers to move about freely. Behind us was a sweaty, amped up crowd of what felt like a thousand people. Once the trio got on stage, I immediately understood what all the hype was about. They were like a proper boyband up there, singing, rapping and dancing around the stage while the fans were screaming at the top of their lungs.

Just like Odd Future back in the early-aughts, Drain Gang never separated to perform the songs. No matter if it was an alt-R&B jam like Ecco2k’s “AAA Powerline” or “Blue Eyes” off of E or a hyped-up hyperpop banger like Bladee’s “Thee 9 Is Up”, the crew was supporting each other with every line. Ecco and Bladee recently dropped a collaborative tape with the DJ from the show Whitearmor (frequent producer for Drain Gang) called Crest the night of the show. Not only did they perform multiple songs from the tape, but the crowd knew all the words. It truly felt like four friends up there living out their dreams.

As a newbie to this group, I was definitely most excited to hear track’s off Ecco’s E like “Peroxide” and “Security” as well as the big hits like “Western Union” and “Be Nice 2 Me”. They didn’t disappoint, and by the end of the show, I had a newfound appreciation for them and their art. I have been listening to their albums and tapes non-stop since the event, and actually did a review of Crest (which you can check out below, along with some photos from the night). DRAIN GANG 4 LIFE

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