So I find out that the fine people at my university managed to get the one, the only Skrillex to come give a free concert. Not quite my thing but I’ll bite, and after listening to a nineteen year-old rapper sing about how he certainly would never pay for sex, I was set to experience some live dub-step. Which, I found, allowed me to engage in one of the most interesting and terrifying people-watching sessions of my people-watching career.
Amidst a giant, four-minute countdown, my fellow sister and I made our way through the crowd of people at various stages of stupor and excitement; our noses instantly inundated with the smell of cigarette smoke and Mary Jane. Who would have ever thought that there would be drug use at a Skrillex concert? Certainly not me! As the countdown dwindles, we find an acceptable place to stand; though we were not granted it. People push forward as if magnetized to the elevated man turning knobs up on stage. Shining their light-saber pen things, people are starting to rage and I begin to realize that you probably shouldn’t be at a Skrillex concert dead sober. I also come to the realization that I won’t breathe toxin-free air until I leave the concert and worry that I’ve inadvertently slipped into the filming of Cloverfield 2 given the number of shaky iPhones that are recording this thing that I’m at. I call it a thing because it is incomparable to any concert I’ve attended. Surrounding me is a variety of people. Couples hold onto one another prom-photo style and sway blithely to the beat; bros circle up, rip their shirts off and throw their bodies around; a few move and jerk faster than I’ve ever seen anyone move or jerk, others continually move through the crowd in a daze; and finally a select few stand absolutely still. Going back to people constantly moving through the crowd, there was this one chick in aviator sunglasses (WHY do people wear sunglasses at night, WHY!?) who seemed to take pleasure in pushing people roughly into others when they tried to weave by her. She was a real sweetheart. A few guys wheeled around, ready to deck the guy that just shoved them for no reason, only to find that the person they were just about to hit was, in fact, a female. She also seemed to find pleasure in this prospect: daring these unsuspecting bros to take a swing.
Now, let’s take a moment to explore the idea of a Skrillex concert shall we? Now, I’m not necessarily discounting him totally, I’m sure it took him a long time to master the art of pushing buttons and twisting levers to make cool weird sounds out of other people’s songs. Although, what, other than getting to rage around with hundreds of other people, is the draw to seeing him in concert. Couldn’t you get the same effect listening to one of his songs really loudly with some good speakers? Though I do suppose it is simply the experience of seeing him live with hundreds of other people that draws the major crowds. Whether or not you enjoy dub-step or not, seeing Skrillex is indeed an experience. I’ve never been so certain that a ritual, human sacrifice was going to occur in my whole life, and I can’t decide if that’s a good or a bad thing. Nor could I have predicted how comforted I would feel by Nelly’s “Ride With Me” playing in a plaza close to my house after I’d left the concert. Sometimes, after listening to a straight half-hour of dub-step amidst a fog of illegal substances and flashing lights, you just want to hear someone say, “AY! Must be the monay!”