D.C. is massive… At least that is the feeling that pervades the monthly Moombahton Massive events at U Street Music Hall!
The District of Columbia has always been home to a diverse and important music scene. Past figures such as Duke Ellington and Chuck Brown have pioneered genres of music and brought the spotlight on D.C. The U street corridor, formerly a Jazz haven in the past, has recently been ground zero for the emergence of a new genre of electronic music born and cultivated in D.C.
Moombahton began as a fusion of electronic dance music with reggaeton tempo and samples. Now moombahton covers a broad range of subgenres and has taken hold worldwide. D.C. DJ and producer Dave Nada created the genre in 2009 when he played a remix of a popular Dutch house song “Moombah” slowed to a tempo of 108 beats per minute while playing a skip party for his high school cousin. Along with partner Matt Nordstrom the two form the duo NADASTROM. Throughout 2010 NADASTROM along with support from local DJ Tittsworth started spreading moombahton. NADASTROM played weekly shows featuring moombahton at Velvet Lounge on U Street. Moombahton exploded internationally after it went viral and gained support from Mad Decent record label head Diplo and was featured on BBC Radio One.
After one notable producer named Munchi became ill and was burdened with substantial medical bills the idea of holding a ‘Moombahton Massive’ party to raise money was put into action at U Street Music Hall in mid 2011; since then over 18 iterations of the party have happened. The nights are usually headlined by NADASTROM themselves and often feature other influential moombahton producers as the opening acts. Moombahton Massives are exhausting events often going into the early morning.
Moombahton Massive XIX went down on October 17. The event always draws a broad cross section of the D.C. social scene and the atmosphere is the perfect balance between relaxed swinging vibes and high energy bumping sounds. Another draw is the empanadas served all night which are cooked up by ‘Mama Nada’ herself and sometimes served by Nada’s wife Jen Lasher, who is a successful DJ and producer in her own right.
Openers on Wednesday featured famous moombahton artists Sazon Booya, Melo, and Sabo. The three are known for hits such as Coolin, remixing Mos Def’s Ms. Fat Booty and Dusted respectively. NADASTROM started with an opening set at 10:30 and were followed by the supporting acts until they went back on at 1:00 AM for their main set.
NADASTROM always seems truly at home performing at U Street Music Hall and threw down a wide variety of sounds ranging from a Latin feel to hard hitting electronic sounds. With hardly a down minute crowd favorites such as their remix of Alex Clare’s Up All Night and JWLS Bashin stood out. U Street Music Hall is home to one of the best sound systems in the city, if not the country, and offers a rare opportunity to see the Godfather of a worldwide influential genre of music native to the District of Columbia perform in an intimate venue for ten bucks or less.
Whether it is the Jazz of yesteryear or the electronic sounds of today, the U Street Corridor and Washington D.C. continue to be a pioneer music community.