My inbox, RSS Reader and Facebook timeline have been abuzz all week—holy shit, 6 days of Skrillex in LA plus a big-time official Grammy billboard with the dude’s face plastered on it on Olympic Blvd?!? LA Bro-Step takeover! Pretty rad that the kid who I first knew on the LA music scene as the punk rocker who blew out his vocal chords and turned into an electronic music sensation in two short years would actually take the time to play so many gigs for the loyal audience that he was recently a part of. Better yet though, I heard he was going to go tune for tune with 12th Planet—our nation’s dubstep king, AND the UK’s Caspa, one of the originators of the genre! Until that point I’d tried to remove myself from all the hype but I’ve got to admit I freaked out for about a minute—who would I roll with and how would I get my free pass? After sorting that I had the next dilemma, would I go and try and document this sure to be legendary performance, or should I spend my night swilling drinks and trying to get down with my date in a dancehall-dubstep hybrid grind session? I didn’t have to think too hard about. The situation sorted itself out when my would-be-female companion sent me the text of death, proclaiming she “had a shitty day" and didn’t want her sour attitude to rub off on our group. So, I packed up my gear and resigned to the fact that I'd just have to be that annoying guy on stage shooting flicks and bobbing my head incessantly.
When I got there I quickly realized this party was every frat-boy-turned-raver's wet dream—tall boys of Pabst Blue Ribbon backstage, music so loud that it almost made you move your bowls, and scantily clad tattooed and pierced chicks who may or may not be in porn and probably just did enough Special K to kill a horse! Score! The club was sold-out and rammed from early on—equal parts frat boy, Silverlake tight-pants hipsters and ex-fans of the World Famous Beat Junkies, interspersed sporadically with a few hip-looking old guys that I had a suspicion were undercover record execs trying to figure out how to discover “the next big thing,” as well as the actual DJ/producer “next big things” standing right in front of them without them having the slightest clue! (Oh how the music biz has changed!)
Franki Chan, founder of the staple LA electro-indie label Iheartcomix and co-creator of this night opened up and was immediately followed by DJ/producer phenom Diplo, whose mix of top 40 reggae, electro and funk got things heated up for the two-hour historic bass session that would soon follow.
Skrillex, 12th and Capsa threw down record after record that made the whole room jump, bringing an energy that the Echoplex has quite certainly never scene before and inevitably had the rastas at the Dub Club upstairs wondering what the hell was going on beneath them. This was the type of dubstep that made someone create the “Dubstep: It Used To Be Like This, But Now Its Like This” JPEG that was circulating on EDM forums few months back. Call it brostep, call it frat step, call it West Coast dub, or plain old dubstep—who gives a shit. These guys proved once again that the market for this sub-genre is huge and that you can’t deny that this is dubstep better for a live party than the intelligent shit that the geeks in the “No Brostep” rooms on Turntable FM listen to while trying to finish their 3rd Dimensional calculus homework or while searching for a forum to go talk shit in. I walked away from the show (bacon-wrapped hot dog in hand) thinking this: if you’re an electronic music fan, go see Skrillex, even if its just once, so you can understand why his 5 Grammy nods this year are well deserved, and why 12th Planet, Caspa and their contemporaries should be well on the way to their own as well. You just might even find a girl to grind on your leg too.