Pitting before dinner: Trash Talk, MellowHype, Sabertooth Zombie, and Antwon at DNA Lounge

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By Greg Weissel
All photos by Matthew Reamer

A half hardcore, half hip-hop bill at 6pm on a Monday in San Francisco. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, in fact, did go wrong – and the writhing masses wreathed in weed smoke hovering over the concrete dance floor at DNA Lounge proved that mixed bills can make for the most energetic live shows.

The mood for the night was one of joyful irreverence, marked by the line of young men and women lined up on 11th Street, holding their skateboards, wearing Odd Future or punk rock shirts, cutting in line and hassling the strict bouncers.

Antwon, from San Jose, appeared on stage by 6:30pm, just himself in a black metal Deafheaven shirt , and his DJ in front of the anxious mass. His dark lyrics and threatening instrumentation inspired the crowd to start moving early. The first pit of the night broke out during “40 Bag” as Antwon asked if anyone had 20 on a 40 bag.

Sabertooth Zombie hit the stage next, playing the familiar opening chords of the Monday Night Football theme song before launching into its mix of thrash, psychedelia, and heavy metal riffs. The North Bay quintet played ragers from its earlier, punker releases and mixed in the more intellectual compositions from its Human Performance series of seven-inches.

STZ gave way to MellowHype, the LA-based duo made up of Odd Future members rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain. The stage grew crowded with dudes lighting joints and then with kids from the crowd stage driving. Enthusiastic nihilism that had everyone chanting “Fuck The Police.” The two behind MellowHype bounced around between songs, throwing themselves into the crowd and hitting blunts in between verses.

As MellowHype was leading the crowd through its last hit, Trash Talk was setting up behind them. Time was growing short, DNA Lounge had another event booked for 9pm and it was already past 8. The now-LA, formerly-Sacramento foursome wasted no time, charging into a set that featured tracks from all its releases, including its new 119 full-length, recently released on Odd Future Records.

But there was no hip-hop here, just pure aggression funneled into the maelstrom of the pit. By the end of the set, frontperson Lee Spielman had relocated to a structure in the middle of the crowd and was spitting venom directly in the faces of the frenzied crowd.