The Top 15 Acts We Saw At Deep Tropics 2022
A week has passed since we took our talents to Bicentennial Mall in Nashville to cover Deep Tropics, and we loved every second of it! Making this kind of recap is always challenging, mainly when everything we saw was exceptional. However, we feel like these fifteen acts really represent the best of Deep Tropics and what the festival offers to the Nashville community, so strap in for a ride through the twists and turns of the Deep Tropics lineup.
CHEE brought his experimental bass stylings to the Lotus Stage last Friday night, playing an unreleased collab with Eprom at the festival in addition to his after-party with Jon Casey as their duo IT HZ. Playing out of Ableton Live makes his job harder than a regular DJ set, but CHEE did an outstanding job of it. Headbangers were getting their money’s worth at the Lotus Stage on Friday, and CHEE was a big reason why.
Playing right when the gates open after a rain delay is a tall order, but Nala did it. She brought her best to the Meru Amphitheater on Friday afternoon, providing good vibes and cool times to the crowd filtering in through security. We left this set incredibly happy, and it set a great tone for the weekend! We also were lucky enough to sit down with Nala for an interview, so be on the lookout for that as well!
We were lucky enough to see SINTRA three times over the course of Deep Tropics: twice as a performer, and once as an interviewee. The main reason he is on this list, though, is his performance at the Congo Soundsystem on Friday afternoon. Though the set was very similar to the one performed at Skydeck the night before, it was made even better by the energy of the stage. Congo Soundsystem was set up similar so that the crowd could circle the stage, and it was the one covered in shade. That way of beating the post-rain heat on Friday was exceptional, and SINTRA took control of the space and made it his own for the hour.
12. Lux Velour
Of course, we have to put Lux Velour on this list. Not only were they incredibly hospitable to us and offered us their time in many instances over the weekend, but their set on Congo Soundsystem on Saturday was gorgeous. Those keyboard tones will stick with me for the rest of my life. The energy was palpable, and the hometown crowd showed up and showed out for them. We didn’t see a bigger crowd at Congo Soundsystem all weekend. The vibes were excellent, and I would love to go back and revisit that set. Outstanding stuff.
11. A Hundred Drums
A Hundred Drums has been on a massive come up and, with wine glass readily in hand, she gave Deep Tropics a taste of why she’s been receiving so much attention recently. She flowed effortlessly between dubstep, reggae, and downtempo, creating a gritty set that matched her facial expressions. She was also another artist that was highly anticipated, and she definitely did not disappoint those who gathered at the Lotus Stage on Saturday afternoon.
As the sun started to set on Saturday, TSHA brought her flawless set curation and trippy visuals to the Meru Amphitheater. Many Nashville EDM fans were looking forward to her set, as she’s poised to pave the way for the entire festival through her sound. The crowd at Meru huddled in close to witness TSHA torching the stage, effortlessly gliding her hands along her equipment and filling the space with unique soundscapes.
9. IVY LAB
Friday night was IVY LAB’s moment to take the Lotus Stage. Bringing their UK beats to a US festival, the duo was represented by one member this weekend, and they destroyed it. This allowed us to really get a feel for where the duo merges their inspirations, and the setlist flow was immaculate. Weaving between DNB, experimental, and half time with ease, IVY LAB painted the Nashville night sky with lasers, creating one of the most beautiful visuals of the weekend.
8. Jon Casey
Jon Casey was one of our favorite Deep Tropics finds for sure! His fusion of trap and bass was jaw-dropping, and the samples he chose to throw into his set ranged from “well-known crowd pleaser” (“range brothers” by Baby Keem) to “homage to the greats” (“Set Set” by Freddie Gibbs). As a massive fan of Keem and Gibbs, to hear both of those artists represented in front of a crowd who may not typically hear those songs was special. Hopefully we start seeing more of Jon Casey!
7. Ben Böhmer (Live)
A Ben Böhmer live set is must-see. His music often feels like a dream and the ethereal nature of his live sets makes it feel even more so. There’s something beautiful and magical and it was amazing to have seen it at the Amphitheater, unobstructed and with such great stage production and lighting to bring us into nighttime. Through his uplifting music and exceptional visuals (red and white lights abound), Ben Böhmer took us to the stratosphere.
6. Vintage Culture
Since my name is the one attached to this article, all you really need to know about Vintage Culture is there was a Tame Impala remix. That should tell you all there is about his placement on this list. I mean, yes, I could go on and on about the party vibes and talk about how his final vocal sample was repeating “I just don’t want this feeling to end,” but that Tame Impala remix… I cried tears of joy.
5. Wax Motif
Wax Motif was just as incredible as he was at Forecastle this past May (though the lack of a Mr. Peanut totem was disappointing). His energy is infectious, and his set at Deep Tropics was party house at its best. The bass, the groove, and the lights all coalesced to create one of the best atmospheres at the Meru Amphitheater. His after-party at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville was just as exceptional, continuing the party until the break of dawn.
Tchami is the first artists mentioned here who used pyro during his Friday night set, and the songs he chose to sample in his mixes were nothing but crowd-pleasers. From “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” and “Calabria” to “I’m Too Sexy” and “Bad Guy,” Tchami reminded us just how powerful dance music has been throughout the decades. Including his performances of his own tracks (“The Calling” being chief among them), this set was bone-rattling with a surprising amount of Christian imagery. Tchami turned Meru Amphitheater into his own house of dance worship, and the Deep Tropics crowd was right there with him.
3. Chris Lake
Bringing his authenticity (and a whole bunch of pyro) to the Meru Amphitheater, Chris Lake had yet another hopeful message for the Deep Tropics crowd. After declaring that “love is just a drug from god,” Chris Lake used another vocal sample to proclaim that “It’s going to be a fine night tonight, it’s going to be a fine day tomorrow.” The crowd was moving, and I couldn’t help but wonder what this set would be like inside an arena or a club. The red strobe lights created an interior vibe at the outdoor festival, and that question is purely rooted in curiosity. Chris Lake is the future. Let’s all bask in it.
Of course, even Chris Lake didn’t get the crowd moving in the same way as Snakehips. Mixing hip-hop beats with party house and video game sound effects, Snakehips produced something that was nothing short of life-changing. From remixes of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” “Music Sounds Better With You,” and “Get Low,” to a straight play of Earth Wind and Fire’s “September” and the Snakehips & EARTHGANG original “Run It Up,” nothing could have been better. Snakehips got the crowd dancing and kept them there. There was not a single dead moment, and I am a changed man because of it. There was a man with a live parrot in the pit as well, which was fun.
Admittedly, we are biased on this one. Admittedly, we are part of the reason MAJESTY took the Congo Soundsytem on Saturday afternoon. Even still, she is the only artist on this list that our team voted for unanimously to make this list. The samples in her mix were the most unique of the weekend (from Amerie and Fergie to Daft Punk, Will Smith, and Childish Gambino), she had the best array of sounds – going from globally-influenced beats to heavy bass and anywhere in between – and she was the most infectious personality of the weekend. She rounded out her set with two original songs that she had never performed outside of Austin before, and we couldn’t be more in awe or prouder. MAJESTY put the Nashville scene on notice. Deep Tropics and Congo Soundsystem will never be the same.
Check out all of these artists, and be sure to let us know who your favorite of the weekend was if you were there! We’re always happy to connect and find out who we may have missed!