The demographics of the queue stretching into Belfast’s Stiff Kitten are atypical for a dubstep gig: in addition to the usual glowstick-clutching electrophiles and hoodie-clad bass hunters, there’s also strong representation from the skinny-jeaned emo crowd. The vast amount of side-swept fringe is likely because tonight’s bass maestro Skrillex is also known as Sonny Moore, the former front-man of the post-hardcore band From First to Last. Some of this crowd are dubstep neophytes, and a night with Skrillex might be the best possible introduction to the genre that is successfully infecting the global electronica scene.
By the time Skrillex’s distinctive half-shaved head and geek-chic glasses float into view between two kaleidoscope LCD screens, many have been raving for three hours under the conduction of Skrillex’s Mau5trap label-mate Zedd. Just as some dancers’ endurance show signs of waning, Skrillex’s opener “My Name Is Skrillex” injects the club with fresh adrenaline, pumping out a trademark fusion of sweet synth-saturated vocals and unadulterated, bass-bludgeoning dubstep. A veritable no-man’s land for anyone who values their facial features, the moshpit intensifies with every violently wobbling bass drop, tangling limbs resulting in at least one gushing nosebleed. Bangers like “Rock N’ Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain)” and “Kill Everybody” trigger choral chants from the audience, and are interspersed with Major Lazer, iSquare, and La Roux remixes.
After crowd favourite “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” closes his set, Skrillex passes the stage to a house DJ, who polishes off the night with Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name.” Eliciting an uneasy look from security as the crowd reaches a climactic level of chaos, crowd-divers catapult themselves from the stage, and moshers bark in unison, “F*ck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”
Five hours after the gig’s beginning, hoards of the hopped-up audience members stagger out of the Stiff Kitten’s doors, with all of the exhausted satisfaction of marathon runners passing a finish line. BackstageNoise is bruised, battered, and brandishing a limping gait, but one would expect nothing less from the sonic bombardier that is Skrillex.