We recently had two very special guests for our weekly EDM night at The Mousetrap, Altered Thurzdaze. The evening’s headliner was intelligent drum and bass music producer and DJ LTJ Bukem (here all the way from the UK), joined by mind-boggling wordsmith Armanni Reign.
Reign’s elite live emcee skillset brought a special component to the night. I’ve seen a few vocalists sing live to electronic dance music before- ill.esha and Collette come to immediate mind- but this was fast, impeccably articulated rapping to the tune of drum-n-bass. “Feel free to dance,” Reign instructed as Bukem kicked off his set at midnight. “If you can’t dance, shake your shoulders!”
For nearly an hour, Bukem doled out smooth, groovable beats and liquid jazz seamlessly interwoven with powerful bouts of breakbeats and bass. Somewhere around 1 a.m. the mood shifted and everything got faster- in both Bukem’s swift productions and Reign’s sharp emceeing.
Later, The Mousetrap roared with excitement when Bukem dropped (and rewound) “’Deep Breathing”, a track from Indy’s own Dave Owen. Although Bukem had moved behind the decks with calm energy and emotion up to this point in the show, he had also maintained a “no funny business” demeanor with little indication of ever cracking a smile through the first half of his set. But as he played the track from Owen- one of the newest artists on Bukem’s own Good Looking Records label- in front of the local producer’s hometown fans, the electrifying moment finally broke the flood gates and laughter started to flow through him.
Bukem stretched his set until two a.m. and managed to slip in yet another Dave Owen track- this time “Almost There” by LSTN, a side project by Owen and Toronto-based GRIMM. By 2:15, weary fans on the dance floor had said their good-byes and gradually began to disperse, while diehards lingered for Owen’s closing set.
Bukem’s exceptional two-hour performance presented great opportunity for new and old fans alike. Rookies to the drum-and-bass scene had the privilege of getting their feet wet with one of the genre’s most legendary DJs. Old school followers of the DnB gospel saw their dreams brought to fruition when one of the most influential producers of their time stepped on stage at The Mousetrap in their own home city. Undeniably, it was a memorable night for the history books in Indy’s EDM scene.