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'Mike's Deli' cooks up EDM beats for regulars, newcomers alike

Mike's Deli has become a favorite in the basement show scene among Rutgers students and New Brunswick residents. – Photo by @mikes.deli.nb / Instagram

On March 29, the off-campus music venue Mike's Deli hosted "Electronic Dance Meats," its first-ever EDM basement show. The lineup featured four electrifying DJs – BLIND, MR. CHICO, Rutgers alum G-MAN and current Scarlet Knight IKEY.

The genre change was unexpected, as midwest emo, indie pop and rock bands have been the bread and butter at Mike's Deli basement shows since last summer. Despite the venue's shift to DJs, the audience was as lively and passionate as ever. 

Kicking off the night in his DJ debut as G-MAN was Sam Golob, a Rutgers alum who graduated last May. With the pressure as the show's opener, Golob had been practicing loop transitions for weeks.

"I realized that I had to do something that broke the mold a bit," said Golob.

Golob's hard work paid off — during his set, he transitioned from deadmau5 to FISHER, invigorating the crowd with his festival-inspired mix.

"It came out of nowhere. It was like all that practice that I put into it ... the weeks leading up to it finally paid off in that moment," said Golob. "It got people on their feet, like it was awesome."

Golob's performance was especially impressive considering he had only started producing music his senior year at Rutgers. While music has always been a part of his life, Golob started DJing to help get over a creative roadblock.

The supportive atmosphere of Mike's Deli served as the perfect outlet for him to debut everything he'd been experimenting with.

"It was a huge honor because, I mean, just the chance to play in front of a live crowd already was amazing," said Golob. "The vibe is intoxicating, you know? It's a great time."

G-MAN will be continuing his DJ journey at his next show, which will take place on April 26 at Salty's Beach Bar in Lake Como.

Another prominent act was none other than IKEY, or David Sokol, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, who captivated the crowd by fusing modern rap hits with aggressive techno. He incorporated his favorite snippets of songs from Ice Spice, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Uzi Vert and blended them with 90s rave drum and bass.

His performance evoked so much excitement that the crowd inadvertently moshed into his equipment.

"I brought the energy to the point where people were literally throwing my table over," Sokol said. "I wanted to bring hardstyle drum and bass, but like, 90s rave drum and bass, like classic stuff and really just fuse it with this … new perspective."

Sokol has DJ'ed for fraternity events and friends' parties before, but the crowd at Mike's Deli was unique, to say the least. Without the pressure of having to perform music that he felt the crowd wanted, Sokol was able to fully explore a new style.

"You know, I just love the reception. I love that I was able not only to achieve what I wanted to do, but also that people got it so that was great," said Sokol.

While Sokol would love to continue to bring his energy and charisma to future basement shows and rave-style events, he's keeping his options open.

"You'll probably see my name on a flyer sometime," he said. "Or you'll just see me around campus. I don't know, who knows."

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