A few friends and I walked into the 9:30 club, located in the Cardozo area just off U Street. It was dimly lit with a small crowd of people at the front of the standing-room-only floor, and some more scattered on the upper balcony. Some were standing around chatting, most were nodding heads to the beat and a few super-fans were going all out, showing off their finest moves. We made our way up to the front as the opener, Philadelphia-born rapper Tunji Ige, was just starting his act. By his confident stage presence, you’d never guess that he’s only 19. He was interactive and got the audience excited. By the end of his set the venue wasn’t packed, but it was satisfactorily full and buzzing with energy.
The energy level stayed high even as the stage hands took his equipment down and set Lido’s up. The mounting excitement in the room was almost palpable. After what felt like an eternity (but was probably no more than 15 minutes), Lido finally came on stage. The Norwegian producer is influenced by gospel music from his childhood, as well as hip-hop and electronic music, but his creations are much more than just a combination of his inspirations. His work includes remixes that keep the essence of the original song—what made it a hit in the first place— but twist in a whole new layer through beat, bass and timing. The result? Magic. As well as remixes, Lido makes original solo tracks and collaborations with other artists.
The stage was set up with various electronic drums, a keyboard, a microphone and various other musical tools. He was clearly comfortable with all this equipment and with being on stage— more than comfortable, in fact. He talked about and played some of the first songs he made, songs with no money or record label behind them, that just came from talent and passion. He made them for the love of music and it showed in everything he did. He got really into it, moving about and dancing to the music; the only time there wasn’t a wide grin on his face was when he stuck his tongue out. His playful energy was contagious and the whole audience was dancing or moving or nodding their heads, no matter whether they had been lifelong fans or heard Lido’s music for the first time at the show. There was also a feeling of freedom, because everyone was doing exactly what they wanted. At one point, Lido said he didn’t care whether people danced, or watched, or made out with their girlfriends or went outside to call their mothers, he thought people should move as the music moves them.
Lido brought out surprise guest Santell, an R&B singer with whom he collaborated to release an EP earlier this year. Santell sang and strutted across the stage (very gracefully) as Lido made all the music and chimed in on vocals. The two worked well together; they were so in sync that if I had heard and not seen them, it would have been impossible to distinguish who was doing what. After, Lido emphasized another important element of collaboration: his team. Although he was the one on stage, he made it clear that all of the sound and light technicians were just as important in putting on a show.
Lido had a calm sense of humility that is rare in somebody that talented. When his set drew to a close, the audience started to chant “Encore! Encore! Encore!” to which Lido responded by coming back to the stage and performing one more song. He almost seemed surprised at the request and was definitely as thankful to the audience for wanting to enjoy his music as the audience was to him for creating and performing it. This concert was an experience like no other, and I’m looking forward to the stellar things that are in store for Lido.
All photos by author