Neon City Cruising Brings Future Funk to Los Angeles

The quartet of future funk touched down at The Novo, kicking off two nights of upbeat city pop synth. Night Tempo, Vantage, Macross 82-99, and Yung Bae all came together for the first time in person, bringing along their remixes that created an internet cult following on YouTube. Born out of vaporwave, future funk combines samples of energetic Japanese city pop and other genre elements including nu disco, house, and funk. These sounds are often placed alongside clips of looped Japanese anime and game clips, which evoke a nostalgic club atmosphere with 90s anime aesthetics.

The audience, brought together by YouTube music culture, danced together in a night of microgenre bops that have never been played on mainstream radio. It’s a rare opportunity to see all four musicians together as they are based in different regions within Japan and the US. Although the DJs and producers began their individual journeys with those anime adjacent musical and visual themes, each of them showed off how they’ve branched into their own unique identity.

With his Macbook decorated with images of Showa-era idols, Night Tempo had the early crowd jumping from the floor to the balcony. He, along with the crowd, were having the time of their lives as he threw off his blazer and jumped into the crowd… without knowing how to get back on stage. As his tunes played in the background, Night Tempo looked confused until security helped him back.

Vantage and Macross 82-99 followed after Night Tempo and played their best remixes overlaid with choice vintage anime clips. The crowd was immersed in sights of animated cityscapes, which allowed people to feel like they were dancing to these tunes on a brightly lit Tokyo city street with a Sony Walkman in hand.

Yung Bae—arguably the artist who has expanded most away from his first future funk remixes—treated the hyped, post-drinks audience to a plethora of new music: EDM mixed in with hip hop and more mainstream sounds. His rhythmic cuts and tempo change blended in a perfect mix of samples and new wave funk. Of course, the set wouldn’t be complete without his and Macross 82-99’s groundbreaking remix of Dress Down, i.e. Selfish High Heels. Surprisingly, that encore song wasn’t the end. He threw in some more new tunes before ending his show and taking the vibes to the after-party venue, the 1720.

Check out pictures from the night of a lifetime below:

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Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.

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