Washington-born DJ Carnage has a penchant for the unruly. The pioneer of EDM trap music is known for his thundering beats and his ability to crank up any party — so, naturally, his fans showed up to his Echostage show Friday night armed for complete chaos.
Ticket holders included shirtless dudes in bandannas, screaming girls in bikini tops and even a guy clad in a Scooby-Doo mascot costume despite 80-degree weather. Crowds arrived in loud, hyperactive gaggles, ready to embrace the larger-than-life DJ’s two-hour set.
Carnage has had plenty of practice in the art of getting audiences amped. Born Diamante Blackmon, he started making beats as a student at Walkersville High School in Frederick, Md. He’s rocked stages at Electric Daisy Carnival and Coachella, and he closed out the District’s Trillectro in 2013 with his take on electronic trap, a mix of EDM and Southern hip-hop that thuds so hard, it makes you feel like you’re having a seizure in the middle of a rap battle.
But in a Twitter rant a couple of years ago, the DJ announced his refusal to get pigeonholed into just one genre of EDM. True to his word, what he brought to his homecoming Friday night was a masterful range of house- and trance-tinged dance music that took the audience from energetic to full-on anarchic.
Longtime devotees know Carnage goes for spectacles — he once shot $10,000 into a crowd using a confetti cannon. His D.C. contingent didn’t get any cash, just an explosion of strobe lights and bass drops that ricocheted throughout the sweat-soaked set. His biggest tracks, like the jarring “Bricks,” featuring Atlanta hip-hop group Migos, and the quavering “I Like Tuh,” with rapper ILoveMakonnen, plunged the Chipotle Gang, Carnage’s name for his fan base, deeper into a frenzy, getting T-shirts to come off and water bottles to go flying.
Carnage also got his fans raging with a couple of booming reggaeton samples buried in the set list and shout-outs to his fellow Latinos. The 24-year-old DJ reps his Nicaraguan and Guatemalan background so much that he’s built schools in the two countries. His heritage was reflected back at him through Central American flags that roaring supporters shook furiously along to his bass lines.
The DMV got love, too. Carnage called out MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, where he was born, and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Then he closed the show with a promise: “I’m going to come back, and we’re going to do a 10,000-cap area.”
If it’s up to Carnage, the pandemonium is just starting.
Lopez is a freelance writer.