This isn’t going to be what you expect it to be. So, sorry if you are disappointed.
I went to see Skrillex tonight and this is what I thought of it.
I will be the first to admit that when I first heard Dubstep, I thought, like many, what the FUCK is this shit?! I will freely admit that I just didn’t get it. I’ve spent most of my life listening to angry white guys playing guitars and I wasn’t used to much else, apart from a temporary foray into hard trance in my misguided teenage years. However, I have found that as the years have passed me by, I have become less and less interested with guitar music. It all started to sound very samey and I became quite disillusioned with it. I would go and see unsigned bands, big hyped bands and I would still come away from the gigs thinking ‘aye it was alright, but I haven’t seen anything that I haven’t seen before’ or similar clichéd and unimaginative remarks. That said, never fear for all is not lost since I did recently go and see Dillinger Escape Plan (for the second time) and they totally ripped my tits off, so there is hope in the world of guitar music yet, no matter how many people tell you it is either dead or on life support breathing its last.
To get back to my point, if I have one at all is that I found it more and more difficult to listen to guitar-based music. To be brutally honest: I was pretty fucking bored of it. I was sick of seeing the same shitty bands with the same shitty haircuts and the same shitty meaningless tattoos, playing the same guitars with the same stickers on them playing the same fucking pishy screamo, cavorting about on stage thinking they were god’s gift to everyone. It all seemed so scripted, so predictable and artificial and I was sick of it. I felt like I had heard and seen it all before. Nothing got me excited anymore. I’d rather stay in and watch knife-wielding hobos fight to the death on my television screen, watch the porn free-view and then go to bed to prepare for another day of predictable, soul-crushing boredom and monotony. I don’t give a fuck what cash is in your attic, now fuck off you over-exuberant arsehole. I suggest that you go debase and humiliate your remaining family by choking yourself to death in an autoerotic sex accident, purely for our amusement when we read about it in the tabloids.
In response to this bitterness and jadedosity (which should be a word) I decided to diversify and began listening to dance and electronic music. In the beginning this was a somewhat torturous adventure since this was a genre of music that I have never particularly enjoyed listening to. I could understand it when you were in a cramped nightclub, pished on Jagerbombs and you convinced yourself to partake in some dubious, disjointed dancing when you desperately and unashamedly trying to get your hole, but I just couldn’t understand why anyone would actually choose to listen to it of their own free will, like in their houses and that, just doing the dishes and stuff. To me it just sounded like repetitive, mindless plastic discharge with no discernible melody or any redeeming qualities whatsoever. I also, like many people, held the indefatigable belief that cunts had to play their own instruments to be musicians and that DJs were talentless, drug-ridden egomaniacs who get famous playing other peoples songs. How wrong I was. I only realised how incredibly talented these people were when I saw a proper DJ do his stuff and I began to appreciate how technically challenging it can be.
Another step in my journey of epiphany was a sojourn to the hallowed golden island of Ibiza. There’s been fuck loads written about that wondrous cornucopia of delights, so I won’t bore you with the details. As a self-proclaimed, reformed emo I wasn’t sure how I would respond to exposure to constant dance music. Needless to say I fucking loved it and the potential murderous rampage was unnecessary…for now.
This brings me rather circuitously and tenuously to Skrillex. As I have previously indicated: I fucking hated Dubstep. I just couldn’t get into it, no matter how repeatedly my genuinely clinically insane friend ‘The Bear Tim’ let me hear it. It was just screeching and noise and as a former drummer I found the plodding tempo of the music irritatingly slow (perhaps I had listened to too much double kick metal music). It seemed to me that it was just slowed down Drum and Bass with what sounded like Transformers being brutally raped with screwdrivers. Fundamentally, I just could not fucking go it. Then the moment of revelation occurred. I officially popped my dubstep cherry when I heard ‘Down’ by DZ and then it finally clicked with me. Then I started listening to it far more as I ventured deeper into electronic, bass-driven music. This inevitably led to more thorough ear-splitting research and unearthed the fetid joys of Flux Pavillion, Doctor P, Datsik, Skream, Benga, Borgore, Emalkay and of course, inevitably Skrillex. It’s pretty hard to listen to innovative bass music without coming across that little weird-looking emo pixie, especially one with the audacity to come from a metal/emo background, as front man of From First To Last (who were actually pretty good incidentally, especially ‘Note To Self’: check it out if you are metallically inclined). My first proper experience of his electronic music was ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ and I thought it was fucking insane. Even at the first drop and the first time I heard the now infamous and come to think of it dangerously bordering on cheesy ‘Oh My God’ I thought that this was like nothing I had ever heard before. I also found that the crotch of my jeans had suddenly and inexplicably become much tighter. This is mental. I love it.
Then I heard ‘Kill Everybody’ and my respect and admiration was secured. That said, his subsequent follow up ‘Bangarang’ seems to be hit and miss although admittedly I haven’t listened to it all that thoroughly, so I can’t comment to harshly on it, or in any informed way, so you would probably be best just ignoring this bit since it’s more or less useless. Leave it with me though. I realise that Skrillex has had his critics and perhaps deservedly so as he comes across as a bit whiney and self-indulgent in interviews, but what musician and DJ doesn’t these days? So why should we expect any less. But that aside and after seeing him play live I can attest to the fact that he knows how to rip the holy fuck out of a venue. I am also of the firm belief that it is his sycophantic hipster-ish fans with their stupid fucking half-shaved hair that irritate people rather than Skrillex himself. This exacerbates his negative image: these neon festooned idiots prance about in the perpetual and constant desire to be seen as ‘wacky and unique’. Shut the fuck up and sit down you have had too much unrefined sugar child. As usual people ruin everything good.
So, to cut a long story short, I bought tickets to see the wee whiney emo fuckstick to see what all the fuss was about and this brings me to tonight. I must admit that this was the first time I had been genuinely excited about seeing a show in a long, long time (other than the aforementioned Dillinger gig which was insanely good and I would happily go and see them over and over again with a raging panger). This time I wasn’t just expecting to watch the band/act for a bit and then my mind would start to wander and I would think about going home and watching a bit of telly instead of standing here in an overly hot room with sweating, prepubescent teenagers. Or the salty fresh prey if you will.
So back to Skrillex (apologies for the constant tangents, it’s just the way my tortured, degrading brain works). The support act were predictably average, although I’m fairly sure that their impact would have been far more effective if they had played a shorter set. They had a particularly enthusiastic front man (the hype gentleman as I believe the kids on the street refer to them as) but even his incessant shouting of imaginative phrases such as ‘yeah’ and saying ‘fuck’ a lot began to grate after a while and I found myself perusing the ceiling of the O2 Academy in Glasgow and wondering if a well-aimed shot from a silenced pistol would dislodge the huge disco ball and decimate the front four rows. To be fair to the lads, I actually quite enjoyed them for the first twenty minutes, (and so did the rest of the crowd) but then the set seemed to become repetitive and it began to bore me as my trusty old jaded ennui set in. Eventually, I just wanted them to end and for the real show to start. The curse of the support act: it’s like fucking the slightly less attractive one from a set of twins, even when you are with them, you are thinking of the hotter one and wishing it was them you were so romantically and enthusiastically ploughing away at. You will be pleased to know that I’ve just had the decency to Google them and they were called ‘Koan Sound’. No bad, but instantly forgettable.
Then came the annoying wait while the techs and sound engineers fanny about with stuff and everyone fucks off to the bar or to take a piss and the tedious wait begins for the main act to come on. Interestingly, the gig started with a five minute countdown, with steadily rising musical accompaniment which made it feel like the start of some kind of apocalyptic B-movie. I’ve never seen this entrance technique before and it was particularly effective. Although after having watched more hours of television than I care to admit to, I have of course melted my brain and my attention span is the same as a small child with ADD, who has had four cans of Rockstar, who has been snorting sherbet all day, who has just discovered masturbation and who misplaced his Ritalin. The countdown automatically generated a fevered anticipation in the crowd and as the huge screen turned blood red we watched the seconds tick away and it was like watching the beginning of the rapture as the huge numbers pulsated and flashed above our heads: the final judgment was upon us. The music gradually grew louder and louder and faster and faster and this was the first hint that we were about to experience something pretty fucking special. Then the wee skinny dude with the daft hair cut and poor skin came charging on to the stage and jumped on to the riser to fiddle with his flashing machines and electronic gizmos and doohickeys that would unleash the screams and noise and chaos as the distorted screeching pierced our ears. Then the first drop came. And it was carnage. Absolute fucking carnage.
The crowd and the speakers exploded. As confetti was cannoned into the air, multitudes of futuristic lasermabobs blinded dilated pupils and irreparably scorched retinas as the floor become one great thrashing sweaty entity. We lived and breathed as one. There were neon legs and tattered shoes and jagged teeth and leering distorted faces twisted in ecstasy in amongst the total chaos. We were truly witnessing something otherworldly as the jagged robotic visuals danced on the screen. We were living inside the machines. The computer generated images flowed and contorted along with the crushing screeching of the music and the visual impact was genuinely breathtaking. It was like we were stuck inside a huge space ship with a maniac attacking toasters and broken kitchen appliances with a chainsaw. There was nothing but blood, wires and circuit boards.
Generally, I fucking hate people who try and describe music using shite metaphors so I apologise for trying to, but needless to say it was fucking insanity. At one point when the bespectacled little black wizardnymph dropped ‘Bass Cannon’ by Flux Pavillion, I genuinely had to check my undercrackers for unexpected and bass-induced emission globules or the notorious ‘wet penny’ if you will.
So in conclusion, don’t listen to what you have heard about him. Don’t listen to the condescending twats in a roll-neck sweater who say ‘Dubstep simply isn’t music dahling’ and of course you must try and do everything you can to restrain yourself from ramming a pint glass into their jugular. Don’t listen to what music magazines have to say. I was genuinely left speechless and as you can see I’m an opinionated motherfucker. Go and see him for yourself. I guarantee it will be an experience like nothing you have ever seen or heard before and if you leave with bleeding eardrums; or you need Savlon for your arsehole. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.