STS9 & The Glitch Mob @ The Wiltern Theatre
Last night changed my life. The city of LA, after one week, has changed my life, and the Wiltern Theatre changed my life. If you don’t believe that one night or even one moment can affect you forever, then maybe you need to get out more. And you need to fucking dance.
I went to a show last night to see all four members of the Glitch Mob open for Sound Tribe Sector 9, expecting of course to dance my face off to their sweet ass future funk and listen to some of the most forward-thinking, fun, and bass-slutty music in the world. What I did not expect was to be blown away by the powerful headlining band and by the opulent historic theatre as well.
The Wiltern Theatre opened in 1931 and stands today (after almost being destroyed in the 70’s) as one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the U.S. It is simply amazing: an aquamarine-tiled exterior with blazing blue neon sign heralding the night’s performers, al encasing a luscious entryway and interior heavily detailed with geometric designs, sunbursts, zig zags and murals. Now I am not big on Art Deco, being an Art Nouveau lover and Mucha fanatic- but like most things in life that I think I don’t like, it turns out that I just hadn’t experienced really good Art Deco yet. The Wiltern is now my favorite theatre/performance house in the world that I’ve been to, beating out the Sydney Opera House and the Palais Garnier in Paris (which inspired the tale of the Phantom of the Opera). I was blown away and will let the venue slide on the ridiculously weak drinks served up at seven bucks a pop.
I went out alone last night, which may strike some of you as weird, but surely not those of you who know me- I love going out alone. The evening is a blank canvas and I, it’s creator. Shilo does what Shilo wants, whether that is to bounce to another party right after the opening set or to stay out until 7PM the next day- hard to do when you have a car full of five friends. Plus, I only know about ten people in LA, and three of them were in the opening act.
However within five minutes of arriving outside the venue I had run into five people I knew. Some I had met earlier that week at shows in LA, and some were acquaintances from Seattle. “Aren’t you novaTRON’s friend?” a pretty brunette asked. “Fuck yes I am!” Communities today are defined not by family or religion or geography but by shared interests, and my tribe is the one of bad ass electronic music, hey what can I say?
People travel from all over to see STS9; I met fans who had driven from Tennessee and Texas and had a really good time talking to the friendly freaks in the festie-flavored crowd. The fans were young, male-heavy, Phishy, and named ‘Wave’ and “Cherry Bomb”; I met one girl who was wearing the exact same underwear I had on, as pants. I mingled right down front, accessed by my early-arrival wristband, with a lot of people who didn’t even know who the openers were. “What have you heard about the Glynch Mob?” one chick asked me. “Only that they are about to blow your mind,” was my reply. Later on in the night I did run into several people who, like me, were there for the Mob.
And then while we were chatting, the Glitch Mob walked out to their laptops as nonchalantly as if they were about to check their Myspace messages on them instead of ripping out some fantastic crunk. Flanked either side by fatty brown leather couches and a little fireplace, indeed the feel was that of a cozy little house party. A cozy little house party with four of my favorite producers on earth.
Right down front, I was in heaven, except of course for the losers who post up on the front of the dance floor and then don’t dance. WTF? Get the fuck out of my way, wallflower, I want to get down. With new (to me, anyway) music at the beginning of their set, the boys continued with their remix of Nalepa’s Monday (always a crowd favorite) and a lot of West Coast-heavy shit. People in the crowd just would just start screaming, “LA! LA! LA! California! AHHHHHH!” These people LOVE their city, as they should. You would NEVER be at a show in Seattle and hear someone scream, “Washington!” NEVER.
I LOVE being at a Glitch Mob show surrounded by a crowd who are mostly Mob virgins. They start out a bit confused, then they begin realizing what is happening inside their brains and their bodies, and by the end of the set the dance floor is freaking out, hot and sweaty. Just like me.
The four artists were a bit more subdued last night than I had seen them before, except for edIT of course, and except for the times when they interacted with each other with smiles and laughs and secret hand signals. Put into a group with no appointed leader, humans will defer to the one who uses the most gestures. It is a scientific fact, and edIT wins the captain award hands down- or hands up, as it were. Last night they all seemed very focused, and they were, for not one of them noticed when I had a major wardrobe malfunction down front due to dancing like an idiot and my hoo-has popped right out the top of my top (fucking corset!). Thank god- I want to get artists’ attention with my words, not with my nipples.
In my opinion of the Glitch Mob, Boreta is the most original and my continued favorite; his tracks are never in a hurry to destroy you- but they always do. OOah is the most out-there and goes the furthest and I think when he plays as a duo with one of the others, he always brings out their darker sides. Kraddy knows the crowd best and throws down the hypest party music, and edIT? Well, edIT is edIT. Enough said. And one thing is for sure- he really, really, wants to know “What’s up!??!?” Each member of the Mob is insanely talented, fresh and unique on their own, and when they all play together the result is that of a sum greater than its parts: a new animal is created, a new sound that I will promote to the end of the universe.
A lot of people say that midtempo is hard to dance to. I say, those people can’t dance. Ah, just kidding, fuckers, I’ll tell you a secret: NO ONE CAN DANCE, and yes, everyone can dance. Dancing is an innate ability of human beings. However midtempo is not like hard techno or psy-trance where you can basically just hop up and down twitching on the dance floor for hours and fit right in. The slower tempo means that there is room for a lot of moves, and moves within moves. Between the beats, each motion is exaggerated and is more noticeable; this makes people more self-conscious which can spell trouble for the dance floor. That said, I know a lot of hard-core dance-lovers, people whose identities are first and foremost that of dancer- and those freaks all LOVE to dance to the Glitch Mob.
Some people just aren’t ready for the future, and that is where the Glitch Mob comes from. I think their music had a little too much energy for the more mellow neo-hippie crowd last night, and I can sympathize, because so do I. I was born with a supernatural amount of energy and will disrupt a room full of meditators just by standing in the doorway. But by the end of the Glitch Mob’s set, many of those chilled out stoner STS9 fans were covered in sweat and dancing like that is what they came to do. You cannot resist this music. You want to party? Do the glitch.
One suggestion, Glitch Mob: I really think you need someone jumping up and down on those brown leather couches during the show and maybe also a towel girl for Boreta’s head. And just so you know, I am available for part-time work in the LA area. I am already promoting your next shows (two this month), writing down for people the name of venues that I haven’t even been to yet, I because I can’t not promote the art I love. I even bought a tee shirt last night, so get ready because this list whore is SO hitting you guys up next time.
On to the main act: STS9. I had missed their last show in Seattle because I was broke and had to put up with listening to my friends’ rave reviews for days after, so I was stoked to experience this popular band first-hand. They did not disappoint. After being right in the thick of things and right up front with the Glitch Mob, I made my way up, up, and up to the very back row of the immense theater, sitting exactly in the middle and taking in the entire room like I was a queen and this flashing and pounding spectacle was my kingdom. In a new city and free of any prior party persona I felt captive to, I sat in the back and took notes. At a show. I took notes. Trying, trying to capture this intangible experience happening around me, writing down phrases in the dark with a new, more focused version of myself, the Shilo that will be a great writer one day. And then I went right back down to the pit and danced my fucking brains out.
Though STS9’s slower ballad-ish songs were not my can of beer, the crowd lapped them up, and all around me couples were humping each other, freaking the wall, and licking the speakers- seriously. The guy on the drum kit was my favorite out of the many performers on stage but then again, I kind of have a thing for beat masters. I was really into their many songs with the slapping bass; STS9’s organic, percussive-centric sound has deep tribal echo and is truly psychedelic. That word is thrown around a lot these days, but STS9 nails it, and if the dilated pupils of the majority of the crowd were any indication, they were not disappointed by the beats. In fact, they were fucked.
STS9 is a perfected blend of electronic and traditional instruments, and last night all the elements came together: guitars and laptops, deep and groovy music, a relentless and strobing visual art experience with bars of rainbow light, live painters on stage, the beautiful and historic theater, and then that other thing. You know, that unnameable feeling that makes you laugh out loud for no reason in the middle of a crowd, that inspiration that goes inside of your body and moves it for you for hours on the dance floor, the reason that you spend all of your money and your time on live music performances. It is that thing which we create- the energy made by human beings that bounces back and forth between the artists and the recipient crowd and sets the night afire. It is human communion through music and dance, and it has been changing our lives for a zillion years, and we know this. You know this, I know this: my community, the bad ass electronic music people, we know this. And it breaks my heart to think that there are a whole lot of humans out there, maybe even sitting right next to you, who have never experienced such transcendence on the dance floor. Someone has to tell them, someone has to explain that there is much more to this world than cable TV and career ladders and a bigger car. This is why I write, not only to capture moments in words but to promote the art I love and try to reach a bigger audience, to share with them the music that has changed my life. That is why I write.
Okay well that, and to get into shows for free. Like I said, I am a list whore and I admit it. When you go out as much as me, you have to be. No apologies.
Until next time from the streets of LA,