- It’s night two of Liquid Stranger‘s three-night run in Denver.
- The theme is downtempo.
- The whole crowd has caught the vibe.
Thousands of bass music fans gathered from Thursday to Saturday to catch three diverse sets from Liquid Stranger at Mission Ballroom, along with 16 genre-spanning openers. Friday night offered an extraordinary chance to slow down, groove, and experience relaxed beats backed by impressive production and a PK Trinity Black sound system.
Liquid Stranger during his downtempo set
Wakaan & Beyond
Martin Staaf, better known as Liquid Stranger, is the enigmatic Swedish label head of two imprints. He first launched Wakaan, the celebrated freeform bass label with a cult-like following. Then came Sskwan, the chilled-out flipside of Wakaan. Staaf’s main label already hosts its own music festival, boasts over 50 major releases, and features tons of heavyweight bass artists. Some of the recent releases come from maintays like Rusko, Truth, LSDREAM, Jantsen, Zeke Beats, and Peekaboo.
Night two was the chance for Sskwan to shine. While Sskwan may be Staaf’s younger imprint (announced just a few years ago at Wakaan Festival), it has already made a big splash by asserting a larger presence for mellow music within the dubstep scene. Recently, Sskwan’s first release came out in 2021 from US-based producer LUZCID. It has since expanded to include Au5, Shlump, and LIGHTCODE (an alias of LSDREAM). The sounds of Sskwan filled Mission Ballroom on Friday, as all the artists on the lineup brought their best downtempo music.
Night Two’s Roster
To kick off the night, the show featured up-and-coming acts in bass music, Sharlitz Web, and REDRUM. Next, Mad Zach offered glitchy tracks over black-and-white visuals, and ATTYA kept things slow and bass-heavy. Finally, the mysterious Tripp St. closed the openers with his funky glitch hop.
All of these artists perfectly supported the theme of the evening. For example, Sharlitz Web just announced her debut EP on Sskwan, Spider Lily, which is coming out on December 1st. REDRUM has already dropped a single on the label with “Phases.” While neither Mad Zach nor ATTYA has official connections to the label, both artists mastered the chill, bass-heavy sound of the night. Tripp St., on the other hand, had the highest energy set of the night, but it was the perfect contrast before Liquid Stranger’s all-original and downtempo performance.
Liquid Stranger’s Downtempo Set
Longtime Liquid Stranger fans may have been among the most excited for his night two set. The downtempo vibe harkened back to his early classics from 2015 and 2016. Staaf began the night by promising to play those highly requested songs, and he did not disappoint.
The laser production was immaculate, the sound system was booming, and the music, of course, was the star of the show. Staaf played out fan favorites like his 2016 “Trigger Happy,” the number-one song fans requested online. He also used his Night Two set to shout out some of his collaborators who did not appear on the lineup for his Mission Ballroom three-night run. Staaf honored LSDREAM with their song “Potions,” and then he had a portion of his set dedicated to CloZee.
Liquid Stranger’s set winded down by previewing his upcoming EP on Sskwan called Unity, which will be released later this year. Staaf spoke directly to his audience to end the night with fitting closing thoughts. He hoped the downtempo set was healing and rejuvenating in preparation for the full-tilt energy of night three of Liquid Stranger at Mission Ballroom.
Photos by Seth Noreman
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