The line outside the Metro last Saturday night stretched down the entire block and around the corner. And that block was packed in tight with 18 year-olds, perhaps, on the other side of sober, yelling, no, screaming, “WHO’S THE DOPEST GHOST? WHO’S THE DOPEST GHOST?!”
They then all repeatedly screamed, no, shrieked, the answer. It was a rhetorical question, of course, but that didn’t stop the herds of underagers from answering, “CASPUUUH! CASPUUUH!!!” This enthusiasm didn’t die, or even falter, until 3 a.m.
The headliner for Saturday’s sold out show of 1,300 patrons was Gary McCann, a West London-native dubstep producer and DJ, who goes by the stage name Caspa. And, boy, were those glowstick-happy kids ever psyched to see him. Granted, a chunk of that excitement could be blamed on the fact that someone finally gave the 18+ crowd a chance to experience a live, late-night show of the harder side of heavy, wobbling-bass dubstep.
The 11:30 p.m. start time saw local supporting DJs, Jeekos and Nameloc. Dropping in Dillon Francis’ “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.” and Diplo & Skillex’s “Amplifier” among other right-now EDM faves, these guys got the Smart Bar (the Metro’s late-night alter ego) energy spinning in the right direction. It wasn’t til the solidly built, blonde Brit outfitted in a black t-shirt with an indiscreet pink “C” plastered on the front of it stepped behind the booth that the mainly unwristbanded crowd kicked it up a notch, or twelve.
Oversized headphones in place above his ears, Caspa wasted no time getting things moving with his bass-itized remix of the Portuguese group Buraka Son Sistema’s “Hangover.” A lot of sample-less, layered, minimal beats and deep, fast, vibrating bass lines filled space between remixes and snippets of familiar vocal loops. The almost constant, tempo-pushing bass triplets gave a lot of the set a heavier tone, sounding kind of like what an old, dark, murder mystery movie feels like. Occasionally straying from dubstep, Caspa even managed to make his hard, dirty house beats sound somehow R-rated.
An hour past Caspa’s initial 1:30 a.m. kick-off point, dirty house and dubstep began to merge atop one another and more and more samples leaked through the speakers. Major Lazer’s “Original Don” made an appearance, smacking house harder than it does through your Spotify. Skream’s dubstep remix of La Roux’s inescapable “In For The Kill” was as much of a crowd killer as Caspa’s take on Swedish House Mafia’s “One.” Deadmau5’s “I Remember” incited a solid sing-along, as did Skrillex’s “First of the Year (Equinox)” (yes, there are no lyrics, I know).
Entering the 2:30 territory were heavily hip-hop-inspired beats. Hardly hip-hop-inspired, this was straight hip-hop. Sandwiched between a smorgasbord of dubstep, electro house and dirty Dutch house, I doubt many of the ravey kids realized they were essentially raging to a vocal-less ‘90s rap track. Or maybe they did and were showing appreciation for how Caspa figured out how to seamlessly make that transition. Like those word association games where you start at banana, end at the French Revolution and can’t figure out how it all happened.
During the hardly-intermission before what was undoubtedly going to be a few-song encore set, the accented musician asked the crowd something Britishly that ended in “champagne.” Seconds later, booze was spraying over the crowd from the bottle in Caspa’s hands at the stage’s edge. More Britishly spoken words happened, this time ending in “moshpit.” These kids knew what to do, and were eager to oblige.
About ten minutes of hard house got the mob of kids recklessly moshing around, against and on top of each other until Caspa called it a night. All the while, a girl stood near the front lines of the crowd wielding a poster reading, “IS THIS REAL LIFE?” For the young crowd at nearly 3 a.m., moshing to a world-class DJ at a legendary downtown venue, this was a valid question.