On Saturday, July 8, 24 year old Filipino DJ Manila Killa brought some of his future bass stylings to the Regency Ballroom, delivering a 90-minute set of this year’s EDM staples. Manila Killa – who takes his name from his hometown of Manila, Philippines – traffics more in remixes and mashups than original songs. Despite a slight lack of originality, Manila Killa put together a consistent, fun set that brought the party to the Bay.
Killa’s original music is some of the more interesting work coming from young DJs today, but his unique sound was belied by his par-for-the-course live set. The hour-and-a-half outing felt tedious at times, as Killa ran through every song you’ve heard in a mix in the past year, sometimes more than once. The Chainsmokers’ “Paris” made a few appearances, as did Porter Robinson and Madeon’s “Shelter” – solid tracks, but hearing a song multiple times in one set can be a downer.
Nonetheless, Killa delivered a fun, danceable set that satisfied the crowd in the packed Regency Ballroom. As a performer, Killa is undeniably fun; with his sparse stage design and care-free attitude, watching the recent college graduate on stage feels more like watching your friend than a professional DJ, and his infectious energy turned a middling set into a decent one.
The set was not without its surprises: Killa dropped a new track in the middle, and brought out singer Shaylen to perform “I’m OK” at the end of the set. His mashup of The Chainsmokers’ “Paris” (on its first appearance of the night) and Hayden James’ “Something About You” was the highlight of the night, but carries the dubious distinction of being one of the few songs that stood out.
There’s no doubt that as a rising artist, Manila Killa will likely be a fixture on the DJ circuit for a while. Despite his set’s issues, Killa is, overall, an incredibly confident and competent young artist, and is very in tune to current trends in electronic music. If Killa is able to bring his interesting, original sound into his live shows, he has the potential to become a can’t-miss act. For now though, as Killa does the whole “Top 40” thing, he can still be counted on to deliver a party in every set.