BY DUBRAY KINNEY
For The News-Letter
On Sept. 17, local bar The Crown presented a two-part event. In one room was a Japan-centric event titled “Deli Fantasy.” In the other, an unofficial afterparty to Baltimore City Paper’s annual Best of Baltimore, headlined by multiple movers and shakers within the Baltimore music scene.
In the Crown’s Red Room, the 2nd Best of Baltimore party kicked off last Thursday with no cover and no clear focus with the songs that were played.
Local music heavy-hitter, Dan Deacon played the role of DJ for half the night prior to a set by DJ James Nasty. During Deacon’s set, DDm (or Unkle Lulu) played hype men with his chant of, “Put your hands in the air!” and directed the audience throughout the night.
The night served as a sort of victory lap for DDm, who was awarded Best New Band by the CityPaper as a part of his newest project, Bond St. District with producer Paul Hutson.
The crowd was one of the more eclectic bunches you would find in the Baltimore nightlife scene.
The audience ranged from people wearing polos and khakis, to hypebeasts with snapbacks and fresh sneakers and even a few people wearing burlesque clothing (not to mention a guy clad in a loose suit of armor).
Yet, no matter the clothing or look that the crowd aimed for, they were all united in their need to get down to the songs of the night. With a clear lack of a requirement for any dancing skills, soon enough most of the room was shaking and turning to the sounds of the night.
Speaking of those sounds, the variety of looks for the night was comparable to the diversity of songs that were played. The Second Best of Baltimore party was one of the few places where you could hear Michael Jackson leading into Nine Inch Nails, that would soon give way to more club-orientated songs.
The range of music fit the scene of a new Baltimore where diversity and eccentricity reign in a semi-clash of styles.
Across the hall was the Blue Room, which featured Deli Fantasy, a showcase of Japanese music attracted a different crowd — one just as young and eccentric yet, in terms of style of dress, was much more uniform.
The aim for the night was to perform music that is normal fare for Japan within Baltimore, almost like delivering a slice of the country to our city.
The atmosphere of the room was one of strange curiosity. The first thing one would notice upon entering would be the video collage being projected toward the center of the room. This collage consisted of scenes from a variety of works including Japanese commercials.
Next to this collage showing was the DJs’ turntable set and the DJs themselves.
Many of the songs played had a dreamy quality to them which synced up well with the video collage, creating a sort of drone-like quality to the entire setup.
The music was united by its Japanese-orientated focus with Keith Ape’s recent hit “It G Ma” tying the night together. The song generated a strong response and highlighted the Japanese aesthetics that the night sought to create.
“I like Japanese music mainly,” said Rob Perry, who performed as DJ at Deli Fantasy that night under the pseudonym DJ Fundad.
Perry is a performer who is both from and based in Baltimore. He has garage punk roots, a particular interest in anime and, in addition to his role at Deli Fantasy, takes part in multiple projects throughout the city.
The major element that can be appreciated from this night is the strange quality that the Baltimore music and culture scene has taken on recently. There is an undeniable uniqueness in having two entirely different events, varying in both theme and structure, playing literally side-by-side on a Thursday night.
The Crown as a venue allows for this type of variety to be displayed, and the city as a whole is showing, with the packed audiences at both shows, that these types of events are what the people want.