- skrillexPhoto Credit: The Minefield
- skrillex2This was the general view of the Skrillex performance.
- skrillex5Photo Credit: The Minefield
It’s not immediately clear to me what I expected to walk into when I showed up at Brooklyn Bowl last night to see Just Blaze and Skrillex perform. Initially, I had thought of it as just another show, albeit with the added possibility of glow sticks and Molly. I actually found neither. What I did find was real sonic evidence of just how far into the electronic trap scene Just Blaze has ventured, and myself in the middle of a Skrillex show that I was thoroughly enjoying.
Here are a couple things I did not expect: that the most fucked up people in the entire building were these four dudes in their mid-40s who were clearly tripping on acid and jerking side to side abruptly as Blaze laid into the heaviest version of Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop” that has possibly ever been mixed. At one point, one of the dudes turned to me, noticed I was wearing a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt (whoops), and said, “Hey! You like Jimi Hendrix? Got any acid?” When I said no, he let out an anguished cry, and then inexplicably turned around and offered me acid, which seemed a strange transition from his previous question. Then he sat down on a couch and began leafing through a magazine. Whatever makes you happy, man.
Blaze’s set was distinctly Kanye-themed, which was appropriate for the night of the 10th anniversary of College Dropout. Interspersed between “Touch The Sky,” “Stronger,” “Mercy,” “Dark Fantasy,” “Power” and “New Slaves,” Blaze mixed in some wild electronic beat modulation—emerging at one point into the gospel section of “Gangsta’s Paradise,” at another into a symphonic version of Miguel’s “Do You…”—and dropped tracks like “Get Low,” Turn Down For What” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” before closing the whole thing with an appropriate “Bound 2.” Blaze absolutely crushed it.
Here’s another thing I didn’t expect: just how intoxicating a live Skrillex set actually is. As Blaze wound down his hour-long, non-stop performance, there was no set break or even pause in the music. Instead, as Blaze was DJ’ing, a small man came up behind him on stage and jumped on his back, then jumped up on the table, said something nearly unintelligible into the microphone, and all of a sudden Skrillex was DJ’ing and Blaze had disappeared. When you find yourself in the middle of a Skrillex show, you know immediately—the bass drum kicks you in the head, the beat starts twisting you violently, the 40-year-old on acid next to you starts shaking uncontrollably and you just feel like a part of something, in a weird way. I did not expect it to be as immediately enjoyable as it was, that’s for sure.
For the most part, I have no idea what the hell Skrillex was playing on stage, because I do not listen to Skrillex outside explicit rage-type situations such as this one. Here are a couple things I do know he played: the Justin Timberlake intro to Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” Damian Marley’s “Welcome To Jamrock,” and an awesome new song with Chance The Rapper, which he debuted at the show (above, and which Skrillex hinted at when he spoke with XXL last week). He also wound down with A$AP Rocky’s “Wild For The Night,” which was really cool. Outside of that, all I have are the notes from my notebook, which include the following: “At times it sounds like he’s eating you.” “Things just went into a dark reggae space.” “I feel like I’m in the video game Crash Bandicoot.”
All of these things seemed valid at the moment of writing them. I guess all things seem possible at a Skrillex show. He’s got four more in NYC this week, and they are all sold out, so I must not be the only one who thinks that. I swear I did not do drugs at this concert. —Dan Rys (@danrys)