All roads lead to Skrillex. This is what we have done to ourselves, and there is no turning back. Key Arena filled up to the tippy-tops of the nosebleeds for the final headliner on the last day of Bumbershoot. There were a smattering of light-emitting toys and necklaces among the audience members, many of whom were escorted by their parents. (These were good parents.) At 9:40 a five minute countdown clock appeared on the massive video screens that dominate the stage. It counted all the way down, in real time. The similarity of this countdown to a space shuttle launch wasn’t inappropriate, considering the light show to come. And the pyrotechnics.

Skrillex is more like a puppet show than a music performance, and just about as melodramatic. Each of the songs have forced drama and tension before the bass drops that you know are coming- it’s like hearing the same redundant complaint over and over. The music, however, is not why you are here.

You’re here because there are flames shooting up, the likes of which would put the band Kiss to shame. You’re here for the armadas of spotlights dancing through the smoke. You’re here for the strobes, the lasers, the video clips. Skrillex itself is like the puppeteer, invisible, with gossamer strings attached to the fuses for the flames and smoke, and the buttons to make the giant robot strut and move. Whether it’s Skrillex, or one of its minions manning the controls is irrelevant. Skrillex would be nothing without the thousand visual distractions to disguise the music, so it’s all to be considered sub-divisions of Skrillex, and in the body politic of Skrillex all buttons shall be pushed, and all moms and dads shall be proven indulgent, and deserving of thanks, and back rubs.


Culture Bumbershoot Review Day 3: Peering Behind the Curtain of Skrillex