After the Patriots’ stunning come-from-behind win on Super Bowl Sunday, some in Isla Vista called the day over after hours of consuming cheap beers and hot wings. However, other students decided that the night was still young and headed downtown to the SOhO Music Club in order to see Kai Asa Savon Wright, stage name Sango.
Wright is a Seattle-based hip-hop and electronic-dance music DJ signed to Soulection, a Los Angeles record label featuring high-profile DJs such as Mr. Carmack and Ta-ku. Like many on the Soulection roster, Wright is known for his eclectic mix of influences. Wright’s past two EPs have been a collaboration with R&B singer Xavier Omar and Da Rocinha 3, an exploration of Wright’s Brazilian influences. Wright said her fascination with Brazilian culture started when playing a level of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” that took place in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Such a story shows the kind of artist Sango is: unafraid to explore the numerous musical possibilities of the world around him.
The opening act was Underbelly, UCSB fourth-year Timmy Linetsky, playing a DJ set combined with an MPD. Linetksy warmed up the crowd by playing some of his original music, imploring the crowd to “get sensual” to some R&B-inspired, bass-heavy house music. Though Linetsky is not yet at the skill level of the following acts, his talent is undoubtable and it is incredible to see a fellow student rise to such heights.
Afterwards, Sango’s labelmate Monte Booker took the stage. Booker is a twenty-year-old Chicago native who mixes hip-hop with laid-back electronic melodies. He prepared the crowd for the headliner with an hour-long set, playing smooth remixes of Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky” and Migos’s “Bad and Boujee” that had many in the crowd rapping along. Booker’s unique style showed that he is a name to watch in the coming years.
Sango, representing his hometown with a Seattle Seahawks hat, opened his set with UGK and Outkast’s “Int’l Player’s Anthem”, a song that manages to be equal parts romantic, soulful, and danceable. The song set the prevailing theme for the performance. Just like UGK and Outkast, Sango masterfully wove together feelings that can often be incongruous.
His music brought together traditional Brazilian influences, electronic dance music, rhythm and blues, and rap. At one moment audience members were excitingly jumping along to the uptempo “Agorinha,” while the next they were nodding along and singing to a remix of Justin Timberlake’s “My Love”.
Though a lesser DJ may have not been able to transition smoothly between these different genres, there was not a single moment where the set sounded disjointed. Every song seemed to flow seamlessly to the next even as the genres shifted back and forth. Sango piloted the show without a hitch, finally ending the musical odyssey with the laid-back “Middle of Things, Beautiful Wife”, one of his original R&B songs with Xavier Omar.
Though I found myself disappointed with the outcome of the Super Bowl, my mood was considerably brightened by the time I walked out of SOhO. I was thoroughly engrossed by the dynamic performance I had just witnessed. Sango managed to express himself in a variety of ways, from the pulsating rhythms of the Brazilian favela to the soulful lamentations of Chicago R&B singers, without missing a beat.