The rapid evolution of electronic dance music, hip-hop and R&B makes securing a comprehensive overview of the vital forms difficult, but Friday’s ambitious lineup at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland for Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest represents a panoramic snapshot of state-of-the-art beat-oriented music.
EDM producer Zhu has been booked at several of this year’s major music festivals. His set at Coachella in April entertained thousands of dancers. Zhu is slated to appear at Lollapalooza in July. His headlining performance on Friday will attract throngs of EDM enthusiasts who are likely to get their minds blown by the remainder of the ambitious bill:
▪ Vince Staples is one of the most important rappers alive. After gaining notoriety as an affiliate of the Odd Future collective, Staples issued “Summertime ’06,” one of the strongest hip-hop albums of 2015.
▪ Gallant is an up-and-coming R&B artist who operates in the fashionable lane paved by Frank Ocean. Soulful renditions of the adventurous songs on Gallant’s new album, “Ology,” are likely to provide a few of the festival’s dreamiest moments.
▪ The evening opens with appearances by two of the region’s most astute hip-hop ensembles. Ebony Tusks and Blk Flanl are torchbearers of the next wave of underground hip-hop. Their profound messages will resonate with fest-goers long after they recover from their energetic dancing to Zhu’s blissful beats.
Friday-only passes are $35. Friday and Saturday passes are $65. Four-day music passes are $80. Details are available at middleofthemapfest.com.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink