Concert Review: Flamingosis

I’ve followed Flamingosis for a while now, but this show felt like a rediscovery of who he is as an artist.

I previously saw Flamingosis, a New Jersey DJ, when he was performing with Yung Bae during the “Continental Groove” tour, and I absolutely fell in love with his stage presence. I couldn’t get enough of the energy that he brought on stage, and I knew I had to see him again. Thus, when I saw he planned to perform in Downtown San Diego’s The Music Box, I was ecstatic. This now leads me to ask…

Have you ever been inside a mystical forest before? And no, I don’t mean going inside a forest while on—*clears throat*—illicit substances. Well, I have, since that’s the best way to describe Flamingosis’ show on Nov. 12. From start to finish, with both openers included, the entire experience felt like I was being taken on a journey through a fantastical forest.

Every fantasy forest needs some sort of cheery, fun gatekeeper that opens the gates of imagination for travelers, and Ehiorobo, the opener, was that gatekeeper. I had never heard of the New Jersey artist before coming to this show, but he sure left a lasting impression on me. His style combines aspects of R&B with Soul and EDM to make one of the most unique listening experiences I’ve had in a live show. Although I didn’t know any of the lyrics to his songs—besides his closing song where he coached us through the chorus—his upbeat music combined with his big smile make you want to dance alongside him. This energy reminds me of the forest gatekeeper; he makes you want to dance and run along with him. After his set, I was expecting a continuation of this style of upbeat music, lights, and visuals, but not every forest can be bright all the time.

Everyone knows that a mystical forest also needs a dark, scary section of the forest to strike fear into the hearts of travelers, and Blockhead, a New York DJ, embodied this. I knew there was going to be a shift in tone from the opening visual that Blockhead displayed. It read: “WARNING: The activities depicted in this video are strenuous and highly physical in nature. They should not be attempted without first consulting your doctor.” Despite this, I still could not have anticipated what followed. Blockhead’s style of music was still EDM, but used hip-hop samples and had a darker tone, best captured by his accompanying visuals. The screen behind him glowed with images of people continuously falling in the air, psychedelic cartoons, old WWII-era training videos, N64 Doom gameplay, and heavily distorted footage of old films ranging from various decades. All the visuals evoked a sense of decay and dread that perfectly captured his style of music. Especially at the start of his set, it felt like I was entering the darkest part of the forest. However, towards the end of his set, he began to joke around that he would be playing a couple of sillier, lighthearted songs, one of which sampled Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” It was at this point that it felt like the dark part of the forest was beginning to end and make way for the reward for travelers who stuck through.

Thus, finally, after a quick intermission, Flamingosis made his way to the stage. If Ehiorobo is the entrance gatekeeper and Blockhead the dark section of the forest, then Flamingosis is the beautiful lake surrounded by trees and shining bright under the sun. He was a wonderful change of tone and pace and absolutely kept the energy high all night. I know, throughout the article, I’ve been using the analogy of the forest, and while I think it best captures the overall nature — pun intended — of the show, I think Flamingosis is due for his entirely own analogy. Although I have listened to Flamingosis on and off since I discovered acts like him and Yung Bae in 2017 and did enjoy his music, I could never find the right word to describe it all, but this show has helped me. Flamingosis is the embodiment of the vibes I associate with summer. His personality and stage presence is fun and outgoing, especially during songs in which he comes to the front of the stage and dances for the audience. His music is easygoing, very warm in tone, tropical at some points with Latin influences and samples, and funky at others as he also uses disco samples in some of his songs.

Prior to this show, had you asked me what kind of music Flamingosis makes, I probably would’ve said future funk. At the time, I still associated him with artists he previously worked and performed with. However, putting that label on Flamingosis would sell him short, and his show demonstrates the vast stretch and many iterations his style has undergone. From Lo-Fi hip-hop tracks to disco-influenced tracks and now more tropical tracks, Flamingosis is simply good vibes, and I’m excited to see where he goes next.

Image courtesy of Insomniac

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