Last Thursday I showed up to Midtempo Madness at the new Pioneer Square nightclub Crimson C at 10PM, my normal time of arrival, being the total nerd of the club scene and all. I fully expected to, like usual, be the first one on the dance floor and get the party going. Pushing my way past the smokers outside to the heart of the club, I realized that this party didn’t need me to get it going- the dance floor was already packed! It had started like wildfire with NoiseMaker on the decks and this was no ease-into-it night: to my thrill, everyone was getting down. My purpose in life is to get people to get down, on the dance floor or otherwise, but this crowd, with a stellar female presence, needed no help from me at all. The sheer excitement for the lineup had everyone buzzing and smiling and dancing, club nerd one and all.
After yet a-whompwhompwhomp-nother inciting and enticing set from Seattle’s funky crunkbrother NoiseMaker, rapper Souleye and DJ team BLVD proceeded to lay it down thick; the dance floor went wild and minds were blown right out of that little club. You can always tell when the experience of new music has gotten under the skin of someone: moon eyes, mouth hanging slightly open, distinct lack of articulate vocabulary, palms upturned in a gesture of thrill and disbelief: what do you MEAN I have never heard these guys before? The combination of Souleye‘s gritty and organic rap lines laid over the twisting electronic loops of BLVD is an anti-match made in deep in the human consciousness; we crave this variety. Sameness is a safe and warm feeling, but we don’t settle for contentment. We want to be on fire, and to light it we need originality, diversity, and risk. We need this music.
I can’t explain electronic music, but I can explain what it does. In this case, your mind starts drifting off to the ether-sphere of sound with the long, guitar-studded electronic mash of BLVD and then is brought back to earth by the gritty and genuine words of a poet. It’s the mix, the to-and-fro, the take-it-away and give-it-back-again that takes music from being a constant good thing to being absolutely great. The boys of BLVD and Souleye have discovered this thrilling melange of earth and ether. It speaks so well to the human audience because we too are part heaven and part earth, part spirit and part body, part electronic sound waves and part rap. The dance floor of Crimson C spread right up through the tables and bar area as no one could resist the hot gooey bass. And damn that boy can rap!
Then, holy Thursday night, came Vibesquad, a producer whose bass takes no absolutely no prisoners whatsoever. I thought the whole of Crimson C was about to shake right down to rubble, leaving only the dancers and DJ there- and no one would even have noticed, so powerful is the spell of this DJ. The twisted, mutated sounds; the crackles, beeps, growls, and thumps don’t just speak to us alive out here in the world, they insist that we open our eyes and move. In the presence of Vibesquad, you have no choice but to exist in the present. Everything else goes away and we lap up the sounds, like starving refugees from society, our bodies as our spoons.
I am an unofficial ambassador of crunk, you might say, and had been telling my friends about this show for weeks and insisting they go. All through the night people kept coming up to me saying, “Oh wow, Shilo, you were right, this is AMAZING! I can’t even believe it!” Then a little shake of the head and the aforementioned glazed look of new music discovery. That is also what I live for- to share with others the transformative power of music that I have experienced in my life. Why do I, why do we, love it so much? Why do we love the thick, dirty bass and the filthy beats so much? I may not be able to explain it but I sure as hell can understand it. I want you to as well, but be warned- once you go off the deep bass end, there is no going back. Once you put on the suit of Captain Crunk, no other electronic music will quite do it for you: not drum and bass, not dub step, and certainly not house.
So what is this blond girl going on about? Why is she so ’bout it-’bout it with this music which doesn’t really have a name but is seeping up and over the nation from the West Coast and Colorado and conquering dance floors wherever it goes? Find out for yourself at Dirty Velvet May 16 at Nectar when Noisemaker, Novatron, and Kraddy and OOah from THE GLITCH MOB start a musical riot in Fremont. Buy tickets now; the show will sell out, and it is quite possible that people will be falling from the balcony, going into spastic dance fevers, twitching their minds all the way over to new dimensions, and having so much fun their hearts explode and they wake up in their yard. It might even happen to you, so get ready for your next life-changing music experience.
Do I have to say it? See you on the dance floor.