OTB’s Top Five Can’t Miss Sets at ‘Day for Night’

Houston’s Day For Night event returns for the second year, returning with a unique lineup that bodes well for their immersive light-and-sound focus. The event is much less a typical festival, and more a multi-day, multi-medium interactive art exhibit. It takes place December 16th through 18th at Barbara Jordan Post Office.

Day for Night brings some special features this year. Aphex Twin is playing for the first time in eight years in the U.S. Butthole Surfers had their last tour in 2011, and are on hiatus outside of their performance at the event. In addition, Bjork will perform a DJ set with a five-room digital immersive experience. The artists chosen for the lineup span the gamut of ambient, metal, hip-hop, house and various fringe combinations like noise-rock and neofolk. One would be hard pressed to not find at least something interesting to listen to while exploring the jaw-dropping visual exhibits.

While difficult to par down, my personal must-sees lie below.

1. Banks

All hail the goddess that is Banks. Although she has been writing and singing since she was 15, her breakthrough only came in 2013 with international acclaim came from the likes of Spin, Huffington Post and The Boston Globe. Her 2015 and 2016 releases have shown that she was no shooting star, but rather a fixed point that will continue to shine for many years. Unique lyrics and a sound that straddles the borders of house and R&B will strike deeply with any dance-driven empath. “Goddess” is a favorite for when I’m feeling a little less than shiny, and “F*uck With Myself” gets me hip-rolling and chanting all at once.

2. Matmos

Matmos, the combination of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel and various guests, is not your typical dance grooves. The experimental duo has wild ideas that translate to surprisingly accessible sounds. While the Day for Night lineup offers many ambient or experimental choices, Matmos stands out for their methods. They use everything from crayfish nerves to laser eye surgery as the source of their sounds. Most recently, they’ve been out touring Ultimate Care II, in which they use a washing machine as their musical base.

3. SG Lewis

SG Lewis is another act that blurs the lines between house and R&B. He was plucked from university life in Liverpool and signed to PMR in 2015, counting Jessie Ware and Disclosure as label-mates. He’s been featured by MTV and Redbull Music Academy, and recently released his “Yours” EP. Lewis brings after party or baby-making music, depending on your plans.

4. SOPHIE

The U.K.-based producer joined the anonymity trend, having drag performer Ben Woozy to mime DJing while he pretended to be a bodyguard for his Boiler Room set. After his work with top acts like Charlie XCX, he was revealed to be Samuel Long. This revelation hasn’t been a big splash, with his focus still on synthy, Japanese-influenced, high-pitched vocal house. Some of the tracks are reminiscent of early Chicago electro. SOPHIE’s tunes come in at a higher BPM than most of the electronic music choices for Day For Night, encouraging a bit of silliness that flies in the face of the too cool vibe many arty acts put off. Try not to bounce a little to this set. Oh yeah, he once also included a “silicon product” in purchase with the one of his singles that looked a bit like something else

5. Josh Dupont

Josh Dupont is one of the artists whose music I’ve had the pleasure to experience in person, on a September visit to Houston. A big part of the local scene, he is half of Extended Play with Dan Snow. He also puts on Kinda Super Disco with James Reed. The duo lay down incredible sets of their own while also bringing top underground talent like Kolsch, Droog, and Josh Wink on a regular basis. Having Dupont on the lineup isn’t just a nod to please local event-goers, but a smart pick of quality talent.

Kinda Super Disco : Josh Dupont b2b James Reed

While these are my top sets to see, I’m excited to see where the combination of light and sound draws me, as the interactive and artistic bent of this event is sure to bring many surprises.

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Dawn Runge

Dawn Runge

The cat that curiosity hasn't killed... yet. House music is her gospel. Veteran of dance floors across the world.
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