Skrillex Makes ’Em Move at Music Hall of Williamsburg

February 12th, 2014

Skirllex – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 11, 2014

What is instantly obvious at a Skrillex show is that he’s in this for the reaction: He wants people to let go of everything cerebral and jump, without looking, into the physical sensation induced by his continuous, full-throttle sound factory. It’s as if he’s conducting an experiment to see what gets listeners to lose control and let the body take the wheel. The venue is his lab and those in attendance are his subjects. His lab last night was Music Hall of Williamsburg, and from the moment Skrillex crept out onto the stage, transitioning without pause from AC Slater’s opening set into his own, the level was cranked to full power. Skrillex’s brand of industrial, raving dubstep acted as a tractor beam, magnetizing the crowd as he observed in grinning delight. He lives to see people powerless under the current of boosted electronic bombardment.

There’s something about heavy bass-drop music that people respond to, and Skrillex manipulates this. It’s like a primal trigger gets pulled, and the result is a tribal outpour. People lose themselves. Thought and reflection go out the window and something latent takes over, suppressed and naked—something that gives a fuck less about how coiffed the hair is or how skinny the jeans are. Tension from societal demands is blasted to smithereens by thunderous, metallic beats, incessant, tumbling and energizing. For a couple of hours in a dark room splashed with radiant, colorful light, the caveman steps out of the shadows.

Skrillex is the contemporary orchestrator of this phenomenon and the tremendous value in his music is found in this unshackled behavior it inspires. Anyone critical of or offended by his relentless sonic onslaught is arguably putting too much thought into it. Skrillex doesn’t want you to think about his music, just experience it, without prejudice or partiality. Last night proved that the true way to experience it is live. His purpose becomes strikingly clear that way. He believes that there are times to submit, to not care about getting to work on time the next day, to not respond to your texts, or care about what you capture on your phone’s camera, to let go and not care where you land. There is a place for Skrillex in the vast and varied landscape of contemporary music. Seek it out and stay for a while. You may be surprised at how alive you feel. —Charles Steinberg

Photos courtesy of Brian C. Reilly |