June 15 of NXNE‘s highly anticipated Festival Village weekend saw the Yonge-Dundas crowd initially vacant – due to gloomy and overcast weather. However, this was all changed once the arrival of fan favorites 88GLAM was due. By 7:30pm, exactly thirty minutes prior to duo’s set, the once spacious busiest intersection of Canada turned into – and felt like – a near-fully packed general admission festival area.
The transcendent hip-hop/R&B duo consists of 88Camino and Derek Wise, two members of the The Weeknd‘s XO imprint who boast outstanding energy, fluid melodies, and hard-hitting verses. Witnessing this duo preform truly puts into perspective what The Weeknd – a global music phenomenon – saw in these artists to sign them onto his family-oriented brand/label. XO is a group of artists that are handpicked for their talent; merely being a signee is a step of great significance.
In terms of the performance itself, the crowd was loving every second of it, namely when fan favourites such as “Kyrie” and “Bali” came on. Where most musicians have trouble matching the sound of their recorded music to their live performances, this NXNE performance set a serious contest to whether 88GLAM sounds better recorded or live. While their recorded music definitely sounds crisp and their perfectly synced songs translate to headphone bangers and party up-lifters, there is something phenomenal about the way the duo uses their stage microphones. They auto-tune and purposefully distort them in a sheer level of mastery – akin to the way that a musician utilizes a physical instrument. Their use of live auto tune is also reminiscent to that of Travis Scott, which is a large compliment in its own right. Furthermore, near the end of the set, 88Camino also jumped straight into the crowd; providing front row fans with an experience to truly remember.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the duo’s performance was that they indeed preformed like a duo. Diving deeper into this, it is often common for musical groups or musical duos to place their focal point on one member or overshadow others into some sort of supportive cast. However, the possibly greatest quality of 88GLAM is that there never is a focal point placed solely on either Caminio or Derek. Both artists have their own creative place in the group’s sound and both artists are necessary for it to sound as good as it does. Camino’s hooks need the sturdiness and grit of Derek’s verses while Derek simultaneously needs Camino’s melodies to alleviate his own craft as well. This is not to discredit the artists or any of their solo work in any way – as that on its own is impressive as well. However, it is just to say that – and as both members recognize – their music sounds perfectly synced and much greater as 88GLAM. This duality and this actual notion of a duo translates onto stage as seen by this NXNE performance. At no instant was the crowd solely focused on one member nor did it feel like one member was overshadowing the other or stealing the show. Both needed each other’s energy for the performance and both of their unique presences were integral to deliver on the NXNE stage.
Ultimately, NXNE made an amazing choice by selecting 88GLAM as one of their main performers for Festival Village as they certainly did not disappoint. Kudos to NXNE as closing off June 15 with 88GLAM was a great decision to set the tone for the final day of Festival Village.
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