Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Who to See at the Inaugural Mala Luna Music Festival

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 5:00 AM

click to enlarge Steve Aoki - PHOTOS COURTESY OF GIANT NOSE
  • Photos courtesy of Giant Nose
  • Steve Aoki

ScoreMore’s inaugural music festival run in San Antonio features a roster of EDM heavyweights, up and coming hip-hop and R&B stars, as well as some local favorites. Here’s our rundown of acts you can’t miss at this weekend’s festivals.

Travis Scott: Although his lyrics veer into rap stereotypes (drugs, hoes, drugs, triple hoes), Travis Scott’s strong sense of melody, unique lyrical style, and production all lead to something special. Scott is, in fact, a Texas boy (he even attended UT and UTSA before fully pursuing his music career). For a heavy-hitting artist, Scott keeps his features on his albums to a minimum, opting for high-profile producers, such as Kayne West. But damn, his singles are lit on fire with appearances from The Weeknd, Drake, and Biebs. His third full-length AstroWorld is slated to drop in 2017, amidst fans hungry for more Scott and more jams. 

Steve Aoki: EDM mastermind Steve Aoki has made bank off his sweat and the unstoppable dance forcefield he commands over crowds of thousands – all the time, everywhere, always on tour. While Aoki has collaborated with big deals like Kid Cudi, will.i.am, Iggy Azalea, and “Turn Down for What” maniac Lil Jon, he’s just as well-known for his solo EDM work. With celebrity cameos, inventive beats and a little bit of geek thrown in for good measure (Star Wars/Star Trek director J. J. Abrams was featured in a recent song), Aoki has become an unstoppable force in the DJ game. 

Kaskade: A list of Kaskade’s successes and accomplishments could go on forever, but when you boil it down, this Grammy-nominated musician has thrived because of his raw talent and ability to adapt. A DJ whose career started in the late 1980s, Kaskade went on to collaborate with everyone from deadmau5 to wild child Skrillex, all while headlining dream gigs such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Coachella. Keeping with the trend of “reimagining” dad rock and mom pop from yesteryear for the current musical taste buds, Kaskade turns songs by Fleetwood Mac and Frank Sinatra into technicolored dance floor-ready jams, while still respecting the original’s vision. 

click to enlarge Tory Lanez - COURTESY TORY LANEZ
  • Courtesy Tory Lanez
  • Tory Lanez

Tory Lanez: Like a supernova, Tory Lanez is blowing up. Lanez hails from Toronto (yes, the same Canadian city home to Drake) and proves the turf is big enough for two fierce performers. With his current body of work (14 mixtapes, a full-length LP, countless singles and guest appearances) Lanez keeps it personal to his own style: Swavey. Although his sound’s lumped into two broad categories (R&B and hip-hop), Lanez says he defies genre limitations as a self-described “Swavey” artist – basically, there are no borders on what he can do in a given song. Lanez tells us he’s a “super Spurs fan,” which isn’t surprising considering his song paying respect to the legendary No. 21. On his return to the black and silver city, we can’t wait to affectionately boast alongside Lanez: “I deserve a check for ballin’ like I’m Tim Duncan.”

Jacquees: Now that he’s signed to the prestigious Cash Money Records, you might consider Jacquees a member of a royal family. Indeed, Jacquees, 22, has been groomed for R&B nobility. The fresh-faced R&B singer with hip-hop tendencies hails from Atlanta and is now under the wing of CMR founder Birdman – which, he tells us, is “a dream come true" for him. Jacquees started making music in his teens, and has built a formidable collection of work: two EPs, six mixtapes, and numerous singles and music videos. He plans to follow up with his full length debut, titled 4275, sometime within the next few months.

G-Eazy: G-Eazy is more pop star than gritty MC. From a feature on Britney Spears’ lead single “Make Me...” to his Billboard Hot 100 calling card “Me, Myself & I,” G-Eazy is easy listening, and that’s not a bad thing. The ability to rap alongside A$AP Ferg to commercial puppet Macklemore is a telling example of the road to fame. On commercial success, Bebe Rexha’s too-catchy-to-be-legal hook on “Me, Myself & I” paired with G-Eazy’s laxed and chilled-out rap style makes his highest charting hit a perfect – and somewhat obnoxious – summertime anthem. 
click to enlarge Kehlani - COURTESY GIANT NOISE
  • Courtesy Giant Noise
  • Kehlani

Kehlani: Kehlani’s recent explosion in the pop radio world came after her appearance on the high-profile Suicide Squad soundtrack with “Gangsta.” Now the 21-year-old songstress’s underground success is hitting mainstream consciousness. The Grammy-nominated siren hasn’t even released a full-length debut yet, but her large collection of singles and two-fire EPs showcase her honest lyrics, sultry R&B and low-key pop vibes enough to where we can say that she’s our “ride or die.” 

Greg G: Greg G is a very busy man these days. After transplanting from his native San Antonio to NYC  about a year ago, he now teaches music composition at the Harlem Children’s Zone, packs out venues like the PlayStation Theatre, and continue to writes new material for his upcoming full-length, When All Else Fails

He considers the new work “a really good representation of what I’ve been through, in love and life, living up here in New York City and coming home every month or every other month”; he also calls it “the story of how I survive.” Which sounds like signature Greg G, (fingers crossed) a continuation of the heart-on-his-sleeve passion, positive-yet-honest lyrics, and the soulful R&B-spiked hip-hop he’s perfected while writing music. He tells us he’s also writing a hip-hopera loosely based on his life and experiences for an off-Broadway show.

Mala Luna Music Festival, $89-119, October 29-30,
Lone Star Brewery, 600 Lone Star, malalunamusicfestival.com

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