Skrillex at the Pageant, 7/12/11

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Todd Owyoung
Skrillex | Porter Robinson | Zedd | Mystereo
The Pageant
July 12, 2011

The kids came out in droves to see the house that dubstep built. Worshipping at the temple of Skrillex, this new generation of music lovers has a penchant for lacerating synth and skull crushing bass wobble. As the genre has gone mainstream, leaking into tracks on top 40 radio (blasphemy in the community - death to false dubstep), the influence of London pioneers like Zed Bias and Kode9 has proven enormous stateside in dubstep's second wave.

With the average age hovering around sixteen years old, the general admission crowd provided an infectious, youthful energy. The Pageant, filled to its 2,300 person capacity, served as an excellent all-ages alternative to the more exclusive 18+/21+ scene. With concertgoers dressed in everything from tie dye tees to bathing suits to borderline-illegal club wear, the crowd was as diverse as they come, melding hippie rave and club culture.

Just shy of 8 p.m., Mystereo opened the night to an enthusiastic crowd. Adorned in a
full-headed mask, he tested the system with bass you could taste. The crowd bounced along to the monstrous waves, eager for the sets to come.

Next was Kaiserslautern, Germany's Zedd, asking the crowd, "Are you ready for a good night?" before launching into a set full of French house cut-ups matched by filthy bass. Zedd's dynamic set was littered with filter sweeps and swash house with his flawless orchestration building the crowd's reaction. It was nice to see a crowd have such a respect for an opener, willing to set aside their lust for Skrillex for a moment.

Running the gamut of electronic music, Zedd's set consisted of everything from Swedish House Mafia's "Who's Gonna Save the World Tonight" to the Black Eyed Peas' "The Time." Made up of a variety of mainstream pop tunes, Zedd elegantly embraced the set with his own touch of gigantic bass. A nearby concertgoer shouted, "He's a bass god!"

You could've sworn it was the end of the world as the kids jumped up in a kinetic dance party, new stepping to Zedd vs. LMFAO with the undeniable "Party Rock Anthem" sample, which was then mixed into Daft Punk and Deadmau5. Bringing mainstream down to his level, Zedd was able to flip Ke$ha's "Blow" on it's head before rocketing into Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," seething with reverberated bass, morphing into "In The Hall of the Mountain King.

Unfortunately, the crowd looked bored as Major Lazer's "Pon De Floor" played like an old bag of tricks, with the song nearing its two year mark. Redeemed by Zedd's trademark use of the Zelda theme song, the crowd got back into the swing of things, dancing harder then ever to Swedish House Mafia's "One." Zedd ended the set with his version of Skrillex's "With You Friends," and the amped crowd begged for more.

Following almost immediately was Porter Robinson, taunting the crowd saying "Who's ready for some nasty crazy bass tonight?" He kicked off with Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger," giving it a tasteful amount of intergalactic bass, riling the crowd in a frenzy. Robinson was enthusiastic, dancing with his eyes on the crowd, as any good DJ should.

With the surreal effects of the strobe, the crowd writhed in what looked like hyper reality. To the Pageant's credit, the minimal effects brought an encompassing feeling using the intimacy of smoke to bridge the gap between sterile club and performer, ultimately relying on the enthusiasm of the crowd. It was good to see a lack of cameras and a floor full of people enjoying the evening's festivities.

There was no regard for saving energy in this crowd. Barreling through the set, Robinson eagerly set the dance floor on fire with Bombs Away's "Swagger into Deadmau5' "I Remember" with bits and pieces of Diddy Dirty Money's "Coming Home." Beckoning the crowd to "Put your fucking weapons in the air, people" Robinson dropped Deadmau5' classic "Raise Your Weapon" annihilating brain cells everywhere. Exhibiting his effortless exercise in sonic weight, Robinson yelled out to the crowd saying "The build-up is super long and the drop is super heavy" before unleashing hyper magnetic bass. His set was over and the night was ripe with anticipation for this crowd's electronic god.

As Skrillex took the stage, the deafening roar of the crowd was almost undistinguishable from the drop of Skrillex's feral bass. Cascading tracks of warped brain electronica morphed into his use of Savage's ultra-crunk "Swing," which has now become a ubiquitous part of his set. Peppered with filter mod rips, Skrillex's remix of La Roux's "In For The Kill" brought the dance floor into a shit storm of bombastic bass, leading up to Skrillex himself shouting out "Oh Fuck!"

I thought to myself, "How much could this crowd take?" Skrillex barely allowed a second to breath. The crowd sang along to every word, hands in the air -- this was clearly a test of the human body. The crowd endured the hot bass injection. Skrillex is a man who gives his all to a crowd who expects the world.

Futuristic in sound and flawless in transition, Skrillex's set was rather organic as he mixed Ludacris' "Move Bitch" into DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat" into Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." It seemed almost reminiscent to a sports arena during the Super Bowl as the elated crowd got down to the crunk-off.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the booming system fell silent as Skrillex shouted out the bad news: "Ableton Live has reported an error....FUCK YOU!" Taking the program failure in stride, he joked with the crowd saying, "You rocked so hard you fucked my computer up!" and "Everytime someone says "I don't believe in Skrillex, a computer falls dead."

He begged the crowd to shout "I do believe in Skrillex! I do believe in Skrillex!" Lucky for him, it worked.

The show continued with mass hysteria as Skrillex ran through his set of classics: "All I Ask Of You" into "Rock N' Roll" into "Kill Everybody" into "With You Friends."

Ending with the anthemic remix of Benny Benassi's "Cinema," the whole crowd screamed along in a universal union of song, bringing the long night to a close.

Skrillex-review.jpg
Todd Owyoung


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