Low End Theory: Glitch Mob, Mary Anne Hobbs, & Flying Lotus
First of all I want to say that this review will be a failure. I haven’t even written it yet, but I know there is absolutely NO WAY I can possibly capture half of what went on last night at Low End Theory in these funny little symbols that make up words that spring from my laptop. No way. But I woke up with phrases falling out of my head; they are the byproduct of my existence and I want to share them with you before I even take a shower and clean myself up- after all, I’ve been on a head trip to a dark and filthy world of bass and grime.
I feel like I just returned from the epicenter of the future of music and came out alive. I am wandering around my place this morning like a lobotomy patient, just saying ‘FUCK’ out loud over and over. My brain is all over the floor like scrambled eggs and I am tingling in all the right places.
Last night at Low End Theory, LA made the world go ’round. Could you feel that shit? I thought the walls were about to blow off the building, that if anyone even struck a match, the whole earth would explode. When you press a lot of human beings together in a small space, you can always smell the crazy in the air. It’s an odor much louder than the aroma of pot or BO or Swishers; it crawls up your nose and infects your brain until you’re putting off the scent of crazy too. You know that smell? Yeah. You do.
I arrived at the Airliner early last night, bought a PBR tall boy and starting bullshitting with my slowly expanding circle of LA friends. The crowd was a fucking Who’s Who of the creators and performers of the city’s bass slut scene, there not only to support their friends but also for the same reason we all were: to experience the epic shift in consciousness only obtained at a live music show, and to dance our fucking faces off.
On the outside stage the laptops and mixers and magical equipment of the Glitch Mob were already set up, and some huge chunky speakers were chilling in front of the stage, extra sound brought in by Pure Filth. The speakers took up a bit of the dance floor but we sure as hell didn’t mind.
The music popped on upstairs and I ran up to dance. Nobody was spinning and the MC Nocando was encouraging the early crowd to get up and get down. Now, just hearing Nobody spin would be an EXCELLENT night. Just this ONE artist. The room quickly started filling up and a few pop-and-locker types started doing their mad robot shit, and soon D Styles was on, keeping the crowd hyped and bouncing. Every so often the Mother Fucking Gaslamp Killer would come over and yell something on the mic, or off the mic, or play with knobs and levers from the dance floor side of the decks. At this point I was already covered in sweat with my hair in pony-tailed dance mode and thought SHIT I better fucking pace myself, there is SO MUCH to come.
So I got another PBR and headed downstairs in the cool outdoor air, looking up at the stars and talking to all kinds of random people who were filtering in. A rope separated the sparkling, sparking crowd from the dance floor and stage, and when they took this flimsy barrier down I felt like I was a ten year-old in line for the biggest roller coaster in the world. People RAN, and in a split second, the dance floor was full and I found myself very close to the front. Soon Nobody and the Mother Fucking Gaslamp Killer were on to warm up the crowd, and everyone around me was already starting to freak out, seriously just twitching and jumping and screaming. Up front two blond chicks were making out. Now, two blond chicks making out is kind of like the naked guy: when these people show up, you KNOW it’s a party. That shit is ON. The chicks always go over a little better, of course.
Nocando was up on stage as well, coaxing the California love from the crowd which we threw in the air like the ‘L’s on our hands. “C! A!” he screamed: “ALL DAY!” was the response, and people just start yelling “LOS ANGELES! AHHHHH!” A month ago I was trying to decide whether to move to LA or San Fran or Montréal, all which have these AMAZING music scenes going on right now. I talked to everyone I knew in these three cities, and what won me over was the mad amount of passion I felt in the responses from LA. These people LOVE their city. NO REALLY- they FUCKING LOVE IT. Los Angeles has that center-of-the-universe personality layered over with a driving appetite, a slick strutting confidence, a feeling of insanity flickering just below the surface that threatens to burst out across the entire world. People in LA have BALLS. THEY GET DOWN with NO apologies. I just may have found my favorite home EVER. My ‘L’ is UP.
Now Mary Anne Hobbs took to the decks. She is not only a killer DJ but also one of biggest proponents of the bass slut sound in the world, routinely throwing out dark and wobble-riddled new music for the listeners of her pioneering and constantly evolving electronic show on BBC’s Radio 1, Experimental. On air she connects bold producers with a hungry audience, uniting “generation bass,” and will be broadcasting this Low End Theory show very soon. She is also a music journalist, an expert motorcycle rider, and as a total kick-ass female, one of my biggest role models. The crowd welcomed her with open mouths and she played very dark and dirty tracks with layer after layer of thick bass. Hey, this lady doesn’t just share the bass love, she IS it. Fat set. Fat fucking set.
I went back upstairs to check on the dancing freaks, the room was straight packed and I couldn’t even get close enough to see who was playing. But as I turned around, I heard the unmistakable fucked-up beats of the Glitch Mob. I screamed back downstairs and pushed my way back to the front again, causing one guy to say, “Whoa, you made it back!” like I had just crossed the Kalahari or something.
Let me tell you a secret, folks- anyone can be right at the front, you just have to propel your way up there. It was just as crowded twenty feet back as it was under Nocando’s nose, and believe me the very front is the best place to dance, because there is no one in front of you to get in your way- only the Glitch Mob. I am also a fan of dancing right in front of the speakers as the blast of air from the bass is like a little personal AC. Now, I don’t have to worry about all of you now taking my secrets and my spot up front, because the front of the dance floor is not for everyone. I can’t tell you why; in my opinion there is no other place to be. Plus, there are blond chicks making out.
Note to Glitch Mob: Bigger Venue. THE PEOPLE WANT IT. GIVE IT TO THEM.
Ah you know I can’t complain one inch- we were a little squished last night but truly, the venue was perfect. The Glitch Mob was in their element at the indoor/outdoor stage piled high with speakers, the crowd crammed together, jumping simultaneously, hands in the air, and everyone freaking each other- a highly sexual crowd and I am not just talking about the guy on my ass. Hey, if you want to push your way to the front, you’re going to get your booty humped. It’s just the way it is. The show was like a divine orgy, and I saw many hands up going palm down, like a worshipful mass, there for the benediction. We got it. OH, did we get it. At the past two Glitch Mob shows my clothes have fallen off. Boys, you are doing something right.
Animated, expressive, smiling, dancing, yelling, laughing- the Glitch Mob was having a blast, soaking up the love and the screams and giving it back bomb-style. They played a new (to me anyway) track full of slashing organ sounds that kicked you in the ears with the dark shoe of a circus master freak. They bubbled in the cut and their city made the world go ’round. They played my ringtone. They pelted us with their remix of Nalepa‘s Monday, which always ups the insanity notch on the dance floor just a bit, and Boreta brought out his remix of Haiku d’Etat’s Mike Aaron & Eddie. A couple of times I had to step back from the front several feet to find my mind, but after five and a half breaths would push my way back. As they closed their set with West Coast Rocks, I felt something you don’t often feel in nightclubs in big cities- LOVE. It was good, as good as the taste of polished sound blanketed with filth which the Glitch Mob provides. I wrapped myself in it.
Then a bunch of people left. A bunch of stupid people, because the secret super special surprise guest walked in with a smile on his face, straight from the land of tomorrow: Flying Lotus. This man is AHEAD of his time. People cannot handle his shit, their brains aren’t ready. I remember when I saw him perform at this year’s Decibel Festival, I wasn’t ready. The part of my mind that processes sound design had not yet evolved to the point of “getting” his music. Well something about the sunshine in LA has sped up my musical metabolism and I stepped into a world last night from which I am never coming back.
Now I usually get pissed off at people standing on the front of the floor instead of dancing, but there is an exception in this group. It is in fact a faction of the dance floor that I LOVE: the guys and girls standing up front at a really good show, big eyed and open-mouthed, frozen in place, saying: “WHAT?” Their brains can’t process the music yet, much less their bodies, and you can practically see the gears turning as their minds evolve to fit this new art inside. It is a beautiful moment. They will catch up, Flying Lotus. WE will catch up- the whole world will. Keep doing it, you MUST, it is your duty to humankind to help us evolve. Reach into your brain and pull that shit out and lay it on us. I danced to his set like I had never danced before; I reached the ceiling of my own energy and my favorite part of the night, the point where only one word can come out of my mouth: “YEAH.” Yeah.
And then, that was it. The lights came on and the music went away. It was only 1:45 AM, and I felt like I had been on a monthlong backpacking trip across another planet and was just reborn into my life with a re-inspired mission to spread the word and share the art.
THIS IS FUTURE SOUND.
THIS IS LOW END THEORY.
THIS IS LA.
And last night yall, we made the world go ’round. The show might be over but the game will never be.
See you next week,
This entry was posted on January 29, 2009 at 10:22 PM and is filed under From the Front Lines (Show Reviews) with tags d styles, daddy kev, decibel festival, Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Low End Theory, nalepa, nobody, nocando, The Airliner, the glitch mob. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.