Skrillex is a 23 year old producer/singer songwriter who “likes to make any kind of music.” After releasing his “My Name Is Skrillex” EP on his Myspace for free, Sonny John Moore gained massive commercial success. The Grammy-winning artist holds the EDM Artist of the year award, ranking higher than successful act Deadmau5. Formally a member of emo/hardcore band From First To Last, it was the production career and a throat operation that created Skrillex. Playing at nine venues on this tour, we here at Birmingham are lucky enough to have the chance to see “the most hated man in dubstep.” Moore has been a highly influential figure in the US dubstep scene. He is an electronic musician who has adopted elements of dubstep. Countless producers are trying to mimic the originality Skrillex possesses – no wonder he is known as hated… “Haters are gon’ hate.”
What a start to the show! Radio 1’s Zane Lowe was on stage with his extremely impressive set of heavy bass-lines and mixes. The music was top quality dubstep and a great opener for the night. Lowe is a great ambassador for cutting edge music. His set was crazy and I was beginning to wonder how the crowd would cope with more excitement. With the crowd screaming for more I would be happy to just have Zane Lowe at the Academy tonight. It seemed everyone was drained but the night was still young.
The lights dropped and everyone was ready to welcome the uprising artist. As soon as the lights dimmed there was an almighty roar and there he was, the skinny silhouette amidst the darkness, and off he went. Each creatively made song built the adrenaline in the crowd; there was not a moment to rest – as the songs carried on things got wilder. As the anthemic bass lines pumped through the Academy the light show was fantastic. The complicated melodies kept coming as Moore performed “Scary Monsters” “All I Ask” and “Weekends.” It’s dance music played by a rock musician, this is where Moore gets his originality, being a lover of Korn and a producer of electronic music don’t usually go hand in hand and the energy Skrillex put into his 90 minute set kept the crowd going.
On stage, Skrillex performs like a DJ. Because he’s an electronic solo artist he can’t really do much on stage but bop his head up and down energetically and stand behind his decks. If there were some special guests or a cheerleader like Chase and Status have employed then it might have livened things up a bit. But Skrillex doesn’t need that, the music speaks for itself, very repetitive but very complicated. The fast beats, frequent drops, and energetic hooks readily lend themselves to be danced to. Not just that but helped along by impressive remixes of La Roux and Pendulum. A few tracks from the “Bangarang” EP were used, some more impressive than others, but easier to listen and dance to than previous Skrillex work. “Right On Time” blew me away with the classic combination of house and dubstep and heavy synths.
It was just non-stop madness! Skrillex was fiddling with his decks like a frenzied scientist but all focus was on the music itself not what was happening on stage. As the night progressed the music got louder, the beats got faster, yet each track was as tuneful as the next. This is by far the liveliest gig I’ve been to. From start to finish a sweaty man constantly elbowed me in the face! Every single track received a rapture of applause and the sold out Academy was on fire. Skrillex isn’t pure dubstep, which makes him easier to listen to and unique from the rest. The ideas and tracks he conjures up are at a bar above the rest. Not just the most hated man in dubstep but also one of the most talented. An energetic night, definitely something to put on your bucket list. If you’re young and mosh pits are your thing, a Skrillex gig is for you, but that doesn’t stop members of the older generation taking part (as seen tonight.) A tremendous live performance from the aspiring producer.
Review – John Kirby