Moby Sho' Rocked the Showbox

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I went to see Moby‘s DJ set at the Showbox at the Market last night for a few reasons: sheer curiosity regarding his DJ skills, a $20 ticket price, and an insatiable desire for new musical experiences. I figured I would just chill out at a smooth Sunday night show, grab a beer and a seat in the back, perhaps even take a few notes.

Yeah, right. Like Moby was going to allow me to maintain any illusion that didn’t involve me being front and center and dancing my face off. I had a much better time than I expected to, and the music went straight inside of my body and moved it for me; I had no choice in the matter. The DJ brought out a very diverse group of Seattleites; I adore the random swirling currents of people at a show like this where you see a few regulars from every scene you hang out with in addition to a thousand other people that you have never seen on a dance floor before in your life. Where do they go every other night of the month? It’s a Seattle mystery.

I arrived around 11:30PM, too late to catch any but a couple of songs from the openers. Sadly I missed my favorite opening DJ Nordic Soul‘s set completely; Colby B seemed to really light up the masses though, and I responded most to Bret Law‘s energy- he really loved the what he was throwing down, hand gesturing and even putting his headphones on to the beat. Ah, unbridled enthusiasm! Passion is what humans respond to. DJs, take note: we love it when the you get into it! If you do, so will we. There is nothing less inspiring than a DJ who is so intent on twisting knobs and pressing buttons that he or she rarely looks up or smiles or interacts with the audience.

Moby did not disappoint in this area, or any other. For this first-timer, I somehow had the impression from his music and videos that he would be a serious-faced DJ, concentrating emphatically on his equipment. Maybe it was because Moby reminds me of that nerdy bald kid in we all knew in high school who was very artistically talented but socially inept. This is not the case. Moby was all smiles last night, clearly enjoying the effect of his beats on the crowd. He came out to touch the hands of the audience three times, driving the girls around me on the front row wild. I do want to state one truth regarding the front row at any show: if you get pissy because people are jumping and dancing and screaming around you, guess what? You don’t belong on the front row. Sorry to break it to you. I don’t go back to the bar area and go nuts, so don’t come to the front and go lame. The girl beside me actually sat down on the stage at one point during his set. Party foul, yo. Par-ty foul.

Moby’s eclectic set definitely represented his appeal to a wide variety of people, all present in their multitude of music personalities. A little dirty bass, a little more house, and a lot of techno; at various points in the show you would see different members of the audience going slightly nuts. Just a little bit though, as the crowd was mainstream-heavy, which I measure by the amount of “crazy girl” looks I get in a night. At hard core electronic music parties people on the dance floor understand and appreciate my unmitigated enthusiasm for the music, my raging dance fever, because they have it too.

Moby did sample some Moby, and of course we loved it; he laid down a choppy version of Porcelain, my favorite song off the album Play. With the beats parsed in, the song wasn’t quite so damn sad and heart-breaky. At the end of his set he walked up to the screaming crowd, soaking in the energy we were giving him, arms raised and eyes closed, for almost a minute before leaving the stage.

But the definite highlight of the night (besides getting to shake his hand three times) was the encore; Moby took us home. Home, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. That’s right, Moby slung some good old G&R much to the delight of the crowd which was in just the right age bracket for Axl’s guitar riffs to stir up some potent coming-of-age verve. The beats started and Moby gave the hand signal: the cue to get-your-ass-up-on-stage-and-dance. He was waving us in! Without hesitation I jumped up onto the stage first, thinking for a split second I might be alone for the get-down, only to be joined a moment later by a mass of people who knocked to oblivion any drinks left on stage in the rush to get closer to the DJ.

We all rocked it like no one’s business mere feet away from the electronic superstar, and Moby was loving it. I was crammed against the DJ set-up at the very front of the mass of people pushing onto the stage, and thought during the heights of the encore frenzy that I might be crushed into the oblivion of the decks and merge forever with the music. However all 5’4″ of me has experience getting down (I’ll show you my scars from Rage Against the Machine’s moshpits later) and I held my ground. Usually my dance motions are upwardly oriented, of the bouncy sort, but during the last of Moby’s set I was completely leaning back, using the weight of the pushing crowd to support me as I grooved. It was absolutely thrilling to be in the epicenter of such deliriously positive energy.

Over a thousand people turned out for Moby‘s DJ set; selling out the Showbox at the Market and prompting those outside without tickets to declare loudly on the streets, a là Eminem, “Moby, you’re too old, let go, NOBODY LISTENS TO TECHNO!”

The white boy is right. We don’t listen to techno; we live it, and Moby does too- with a big fat smile on his face the whole time.

Do you know someone who went to Moby’s DJ set at the Showbox? Might they help me figure out the mystery of the disappearing Seattle dance maniacs and where they hide out the rest of the year? Please forward a link for this post to them. United, we can ignite the Seattle electronic music scene and conquer the world, one beat at a time.

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