Skrillex is a DJ and electronic dance music producer whose real name is Sonny Moore. His haircut is asymmetrical and his preferred genre of music is currently dubstep, though he got his first musical breaks as the singer of a screamo band called From First to Last.
This week Skrillex played a string of gigs in the New York area, which means that critics from taste-making websites were able to stop by his shows, where they were shocked by what they saw and forced to confront their creeping climb into the attic of adulthood, a place where bloggers aren't accustomed to finding themselves.
And what's more interesting than the debate over whether or not Moore's glitched out arsenal of brash house hits "ruined" dubstep is how some of the country's best bloggers reacted to his live shows. Both Grantland's Amos Barshad and Gawker's Adrian Chen found themselves feeling old at Skrillex's Webster Hall gig.
Barshad writes, "One thing about being 27 is that you're definitely old enough to be allowed to flippantly dismiss things high school kids are into, but not necessarily old enough to want to flippantly dismiss things high school kids are into."
He goes on to encounter the various rave types, from bros to girls in bras on bros' shoulders. From his post, it seems like Chen, also 27, had a similar experience:
At 2am this morning, dampened with beer spilled by the drunk couple grinding above me as Skrillex bounced like a greased spring backlit by an enormous LCD screen filled with a loop of the viral video Nyan Cat I definitely felt on the far side of that line for one of the few times in my 27 years.
Dubstep is essentially what happens when the bottom is dropped out of a song's bassline. Dubstep often start out calm and melodic, but as a track nears its "drop" (an instrumental chorus on steroids), the beat builds and doubles on top of itself until it's finally released in a barrage of wobbly, extended downbeats and high-pitched screeches.
At a Skrillex show, the primary style of dancing is jumping. The crowd signs on for a ride, following the 24 year-old from one bass drop to another as he gyrates wildly (really, wildly) behind an M-Audio controller and laptop. Some in the audience smoke marijuana and others partake in MDMA, but many at a Skrillex show are simply -- and unabashedly earnestly -- "raging."
Skrillex's recent spike in media coverage is a bit confusing given that the DJ isn't doing anything notable this week. He released his latest EP, Bangarang in December, and aside from picking up a Grammy nod last month (that's how underground he is), he's just touring as usual.
As a somewhat younger editor who has interviewed a number of EDM artists and found himself at Webster Hall and Pacha a number of times this year as a result, Skrillex's show didn't seem that different to me. I saw him the night after, at Wednesday's show at Pacha, and the crowd didn't seem significantly more... activated than at shows for Dirty South, Afrojack, Benny Bennassi or Dada Life. (Though a young lady next to me did suddenly take off her jeans).
What was perhaps missing from Chen and Barshad's posts was the realization that this is now a completely mainstream phenomenon that happens nightly across the country. Skrillex and his EDM colleagues sell out bigger concerts than any other genre, with festivals that draw as many as 100,000 of the crazy young kids the critics encountered at Webster Hall.
So here we are: That awkward moment where those hip young bloggers start feeling a little less young.