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TOKiMONSTA & ZHU Illuminate Stubbs On A Wednesday

TOKiMONSTA & ZHU Illuminate Stubbs On A Wednesday



Whether it was divine intervention or just luck, the sold-out performance for Zhu and Tokimonsta on Wednesday night at Stubbs had a rare bout of good weather, in what has been a couple weeks of torrential rain. A long serpentine line spilled out of Stubbs as scores of young people prepared for a mental releae in what would be a mid-week dance party. With tickets ranging from $35 - $200 the sold-out crowd was even more impressive, given that the majority of attendees were seemingly cash-strapped millennials.

The pricing was however, justified, as the opening act, TOKiMONSTA is a bonafide headliner all on her own.  The New York-based artist, whose real name is Jennifer Lee, has been making blissful electronica for over a decade and is an adroit conductor of her audience’s mood and energy level. Her live act blends serene soundscapes with hip-hop breakdowns and unassailable optimism.

Lee also has one of the greatest comeback stories of recent memory. Diagnosed with a rare brain disease called Moyamoya, Lee had to have two brain surgeries that left her without the ability to walk or make music. Having to relearn most functions, Lee focused on a musical rehabilitation that bore fruit in the form of her fifth album, Lune Rouge

While TOKiMONSTA’s set raised the bar to a degree that would be uncomfortable for most artists to follow, ZHU is confident in his own magic. The mysterious producer and singer came onstage to a seizure-inducing light show and performed on top of a pyramid.

ZHU would blast through 20 different tracks, each featuring different instrumentation and visual sub-routines.  Pausing only to address the ungodly heat and eat some ice cream, ZHU had a sea of entranced fans swaying to his ethereal beats. Hits like “Drowning”, “Faded” and “Guilty Love” all invigorated the crowd’s energy in the sweltering Texas heat. 

Both sets had amazing vibes, and each artist has the versatility to play a small club or a mega-festival. However it is the wide-range of fans that they attract that might be the most interesting part of their appeal; EDM, house, hip-hop, indie-electro and trance fans were all included in the array attendees.  While both artists have been arguably under the radar until recent years, it feels like we are just beginning to see them take flight.

Published: September 21, 2018 |

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