It’s safe to say that two female acrobats dangling from the ceiling, large screens flashing melting religious iconography and a moshing crowd of Thursday-night partygoers is not the usual Nashville party. Nevertheless, this was the scene at Exit/In this past Thursday, and it was a prime example of the much-venerated institution’s latest electronic show thanks to TroyBoi and his Mantra Tour.
Hailing from South London, the artist known only as TroyBoi has been rising to Internet stardom through his use of experimental sampling and electronic production. As the first North American tour, the Mantra Tour has made stops all over the United States and Canada. Compared to the other venues on his tour calendar, the Exit/In is a relatively modest one. Yet with the small but growing popularity of electronic music in the Nashville scene, TroyBoi’s show provided an intimate glimpse of an artist heading quickly up the ranks.
The show brought in a buzzing crowd long before TroyBoi even made his appearance. The two openers, Nebbra and Medium Troy, set the tone with an array of upbeat tracks and an interactive crowd attitude. Nebbra in particular shined with his glistening remixes of popular hits and contagious energy. By the last song of the set, the room was already nearing mosh-pit status in anticipation.
After nearly two and a half hours of opening acts, the cheers of the crowd exploded as two women sauntered to the stage from a cloud of white light. Accompanied by ominous droning, whistles and emphatic applause, TroyBoi emerged at the center of the stage. In the audience, arms stacked with beads and glowstick bracelets waved wildly. As TroyBoi dropped into his first song, the entire room pulsed with energy.
The show itself was a sensory wonderland. The Mantra Tour draws heavily upon spiritual undertones and juxtaposed images of trippy deities with sitar-laden samples. As TroyBoi expertly mixed his way through popular tracks like “And Wot?” and “Wallz,” the crowd bounced, cheered, clapped and moshed.
Driven by trappy beats and heavy bass lines, the set temporarily transformed the room into another world, one where the audience was engulfed by the sights and sounds of TroyBoi’s musical performance.
The highlight of the experience was without a doubt the dancers. With their rapid-fire costume changes and acrobatic displays upon a hoop hanging from the ceiling, the women mesmerized the entire audience.
The novelty of dancers on a stage as small as Exit/In’s only added to the ethereal and mystical elements of the set. As they spun the sheer gold fabric of their dresses in the final moments of the show, TroyBoi hypnotized the crowd with his tour’s namesake song, “Mantra.”
The Exit/In is known for its ability to put on a wild night that you truly can’t find anywhere else in a hundred-mile radius, and TroyBoi’s show was no exception. After the show’s end, TroyBoi thanked the audience profusely and reached out to high-five the first five rows that had since condensed into two. In all, the evening was an unforgettable trip to another planet far from the nearby streets of Nashville.
Photos by Kathy Yuan