Ekali Mesmerizes Fans With "Crystal Eyes" Sold Out Show

November 3, 2018 | By Olivia Oriaku, Photos by Amanda Stark

Stretching far down and around the block, the line for electronic music producer Ekali’s sold out show on Nov. 2 at The Sinclair, only continued to grow. Concert-goers buzzed with excitement, many wearing colorful, eccentric outfits in true rave fashion, while others expressed enthusiasm for the night’s headliner by sporting Ekali merch. The fan’s admiration for the Canadian born DJ, named Nathan Shaw, was palpable — so much so that out of high demand, a second, earlier show at 6:45 p.m. was added to the venue’s schedule, followed by the later, original show at 10:30 p.m. It was no secret that the “Crystal Eyes Tour,” named after Ekali’s newly released “Crystal Eyes” EP, was one surrounded by an undeniably strong energy. 


Photos by Amanda Stark

Before the headlining show, 16-year-old Jaron Steele, known on stage as Jaron, captivated the audience with his set—a blend of future bass, trap, and rap. On the first tour of his life, his radiating smile and passionately animated dance moves made it evident that Steele was living out his dream, and the crowd, emulating his high energy, was right there with him, watching him live it out. 


A quick transition later and DJ 1788-L, whose real name is Stonewall Klaxon, took the stage. The mask covering his face and his jet black clothing only added to the artist’s uniquely dark, cryptic aesthetic. The already hyped crowd went into a frenzy when Klaxon played some of his hit collaborations, such as “Hex” with electronic producer Rezz, as well as some of his well-known remixes, including “Sound of Where’d U Go” by artists Illenium and Said the Sky. His dizzying chord stacks combined brilliantly with distorted dissonances, cutting downbeats, and overwhelming bass jabs. With robotic sounding dubstep beats and high frequency autotuned sampling, his set represented a futuristic reality that transported audience members into a sci-fi movie. Fans went wild when a computerized voice, which boomed simultaneously with bright, white strobe lights, said, “Thank you for making this a memorable experience. I hope you enjoy my last few songs, as you begin to prepare yourself for Ekali.” 


The crowd jumped and cheered with excitement as Ekali emerged from backstage. The two giant cube structures lined with LED light strips, which were on both sides of the stage, came to life as his performance started, and changed colors at various intervals throughout the show. They, along with the dynamic and psychedelic nature visuals on the screen behind the DJ stand, immediately set the tone for the electrifying, mesmerizing set to come.


Photos by Amanda Stark

Pumping up die-hard fans with pulsating rhythms and hard-hitting drops, Ekali jumped right into performing instant crowd-pleasers, as he incorporated songs off of electronic producer RL Grime’s new album “NOVA” into his set. He also integrated music by renowned electronic artist Flume into his performance, mashing up the popular “Say It” feat. Tove Lo and adding in a heavy drop after her vocal line was finished. At various points throughout the show, Ekali would slide under the DJ stand and climb on top of it—his movements bouncing with the downbeat as crowd members screamed with delight. 


Ekali’s excellent blend of electronic and hip-hop/rap showcased his versatility as an artist and proved captivating for the audience. As soon as the first chords of rapper Sheck Wes’ famous “Mo Ramba” were heard, the crowd grew ecstatic; they’re dancing and cheering intensifying when the bass dropped and Ekali’s intricate beat layering was revealed. He continued on with remixes of Post Malone’s “Rockstar” feat. 21 Savage and “Congratulations,” as the venue’s strobe lights increased in strength, speeding up the fans’ heart rate and movements. 


The DJ completed his set with a variety of tracks off of his EP “Crystal Eyes.” These songs gave fans a slight break from the more upbeat, fast tempo numbers which dominated his performance. The euphoric “Leaving” feat. Yuna left fans gracefully swaying to airy, melodic vocals arranged over soft, alluring beats. Finishing off with a banger, Ekali performed the popular “Crystal Eyes.” It’s synthesized chords perfectly transitioned into a strong future bass drop, which left fans in a dreamlike state, completely spellbound by Ekali’s performance and eagerly awaiting his return to Boston.