100% Electronicon Review – Saint Pepsi & Pad Chennington (Guest Post)
This is a guest post in a collaboration to share vaportorian‘s thoughts on 100% Electronicon to a larger audience.
Ryan DeRobertis Returning to His Roots as Saint Pepsi & Pad Chennington’s First Live Show
It’s been over a day since the first 100% Electronicon ended, and for many of us, it was an experience we will never forget. As one @Hipsterjsus1337 on Twitter phrased it, “This is like fuckin Woodstock for internet music nerds”, 100% Electronicon was the culmination of the current state of Vaporwave. Creators, both big and small, came together over a 14 hour period to prove that vaporwave is indeed not dead. I spoke to Skeleton Lipstick and I thought he described it best: Vaporwave is the “final boss” of music genres. It will eat up other genres, create new subgenres, but most importantly, leave room for further growth in the scene. While we could go in-depth on how this rang true with every performer at 100% Electronicon, I’m here to discuss about two notable performers, Saint Pepsi and Pad Chennington.
Arguably one of the most anticipated acts of 100% Electronicon, Saint Pepsi did not come to disappoint. When he said he was going to bring back Saint Pepsi for this show, he meant it. This showed when he started off with the intro of his 2013 album, “WORLD TOUR”. He went even further back, telling the crowd he’s going back to 2012, playing “宇宙の風呂敷” from LASER TAG ZERO, his first album under the Saint Pepsi moniker. It was obvious in the first 5 minutes, that SP fans were in for the show they’ve always dreamt of. The majority of the set consisted of the various drinks of his discography (with vanilla pepsi, cherry pepsi, strawberry lemonade), guaranteed crowd pleasers such as Better, Hit Vibes, and Enjoy Yourself, and tracks from his new album, Mannequin Challenge. However, there was one track that he played that made the whole set to me. About 10 minutes in, as he is wrapping up Cherry Pepsi, I hear a punching drumline being mixed in, one which I knew instantly: Can’t Afford, from his split album with Luxury Elite, Late Night Delight. This album was one of the first vaporwave albums I heard, and for some reason, Can’t Afford was a track that stood out to me. When I think of songs that define vaporwave, Can’t Afford’s vibe always comes to me. It was at that point when I truly realized what I was experiencing may be the only time in my life that I see this: Saint Pepsi playing the more obscure tracks in his discography live, and hundreds of people singing along to it. All in all, it was a great experience, and I left with chills. It was very heartwarming to see how happy it made Ryan, and the greatest reminder to him that his fans never left him and will stick by him as he continues to mature as Skylar Spence.
Armed with future funk, french house, hot cues, and the American flag itself, Pad Chennington was prepared to throw down one of the highest-energy sets of 100% Electronicon. Tucked away in the second floor of Elsewhere, the loft hosted what was by far the craziest set to kick the afterparty into high gear. As this was his first live set, many of us were eager to see what he had in store for us. The electronic sound selection, ranging from Mr. Oizo to Daft Punk, showed that Pad put in time and energy in making this set list. He said that he practiced performing this set everyday up until the day of Electronicon, and this was seen through his energy between each song. He was perhaps the only artist that night to repeatedly leave the deck to come join the mosh pit that quickly formed in the center. Granted, his area wasn’t as nearly as big as the other artists, but he made great use of what he had. With an advance apology to George Clanton for the impending chaos that was about to happen, Pad dropped two of future funk’s most notable bangers: Tanuki’s “BABYBABYの夢”, and MACROSS 82-99 ‘s “Fun Tonight”. Both of these 2015-era future funk songs are perhaps on the list of most important songs to the subgenre. Performances like SP and Pad, and just about every other artist at Electronicon, stayed true to their roots, whether they started in 2012 or 2018. Each set was a representation of their life’s work in the scene, signaling a bright future to come. I cannot wait for Electronicon to come back to NYC. To all the fans in the west coast, I hope you get the chance to enjoy Electronicon 2!
Listen / Watch the live sets
For those who would like to see these sets (or relive them again!), Shadab has uploaded each to youtube
Saint Pepsi Live set
Padchennington Live set
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