Pysk, System96 and BadNrad at Amsterdam Bar and Hall was an amazing concert. The evening was filled with talented performances, new and original material and meetings with the performers in an intimate setting.
The performances were a mix of electronic music with a nostalgic ’80s sound to dark horror tracks, think songs more complex and richer than the Stranger Things soundtrack.
When we arrived we had a few surprises. The line-up suddenly shifted to make way for an impromptu performance. This allowed Psyk to go first and BadNrad last to end the evening.
It showed how strong and supportive the community is among Synthwave artists. They work together and support each other in their new projects and collaborations. In fact, the talented Galaxy80 gladly performed even before the show started! Just for that, I came before the time of the show.
Psyk started the evening off in front of an excited but small crowd. Their cheers echoed loud and clear and it made it a much more intimate spectacle.
Psyk continued with a self-proclaimed dark piece that we applauded and danced to, invigorated by heavy music. He played an unreleased track which delighted the audience. It was an obvious hit.
His songs are full of daring sounds that range from fast electronic music to heavy synths and intense sounds of horror-tinged tracks.
Originally from Hawaii, he came from Portland just for the show. He is well known for his multiple talents in different genres and projects. In fact, he participates in the Neon Rose Festival in Portland every year. It has lineup from the biggest synthwave groups, many of whom have performed in Minneapolis / St Paul.
System96 far exceeded my expectations for his live set. His ambient synthwave songs proved to be a haunting and immersive live experience.
Coming from the industrial side of heavy lyric electronic music, lyricless synthwave genre, I was amazed at how immersive and fascinating it was live. The intertwined melodies invoke emotions without the need for a voice.
Halfway through her set, System96 called up Lucy in Disguise, who performed last month. He looked up and recognized him but didn’t move. The crowd encouraged him to move and cheered him on on stage. The interactions between everyone made the evening all the more special, although some ideas did not work out as hoped.
System96’s songs are neat and polished, which creates a very impressive ensemble. It’s not a lot of contrast like a typical EDM show of ups and downs. This created a particularly pleasant experience that encompassed all the senses and was easy to keep dancing on.
On stage, he smiled at the audience several times, smiling and shaking his head at the shenanigans of those shouting and clapping. In person, he is nice and sympathetic.
System96 currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. It is well known in the synth community and has a good number of listeners per month on Spotify.
SYSTEM96 and KNOFACE
The scene changed again and it seemed like the surprise we were promised. We saw System96 take the stage from the back, and a beanie-clad Psyk came on stage to perform under his new synth, hip hop project KnoFace.
The audience seemed stunned by the switch. We watched him mesmerized as he quickly lyricated. Was the shock some kind of impressed reaction? Or was it too much for the synth crowd? I particularly liked the intensity of his rap on the synthwave tracks. I would see it all in the blink of an eye.
Recently released KnoFace VTWA II with Lucy in disguise.
BadNrad took the stage with an exclamation mark. He had an ’80s look with incredibly long hair and a tank top, completed with a pair of multicolored high shoes. Whether it’s intentional or just a coincidence, we’ll never know, but I love the effect.
With the ultimate multitasking skills, BadNrad sang using his talkbox, played keytar, and played with his buttons while sensually throwing his hair back. His songs came fast and loud with varying effects changing throughout the performance. His music is a mix of electronic styles, leaning on the heavier side of the synth. We wanted more of his intoxicating voice.
Nitrowave TC is hosting more Sythwave shows this fall! They will have concert listings on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.