DATSIK >> Music genres go through a similar cycle each time they are 'pioneered'. There is always a beginning - with someone, somewhere. The genre lives in obscurity. It cultivates a feverishly loyal but small fan base. The music sounds 'new', it is uninhibited and its sound is driven purely by what the artist/community thinks is good. At this point, the artists are just as much fans of the genre as the audience.
Then it breaks, the genre starts showing up at music festivals, you might read an article about it, college radios start playing their tracks. The next stage is hyper-popularity. They are on Rolling Stone now. They are played in car commercials. They start playing stadiums. The genre is flooded with money, and where there is cash there are expectations. The idea of pushing boundaries and shaping a new sound makes way to selling records, downloads or concert tickets and distilling what made the music interesting into a core, then shooting that core up with steroids until it wins a Grammy.
The music purposely begins to appeal to the peak of the bell curve, the average. This cycle is accelerating. Hip-hop arguable has its roots in the late 70’s early 80’s and hit this 'shit-peak' in 1998 when Will Smith won a Grammy for 'Men in Black'. It took a good 18 years before rapping granny’s started showing up.
Grunge started popping up in the very late 80’s. It was only about 10 years before all rock bands had employed an Eddie Vedder impersonator as a front man, culminating in the suicide-inducing release of Creed’s 'My Own Prison' in 1998.
The moment I heard sub bass wobbles in the back drop of a Scion commercial, I knew it was over and I was amazed at how fast the cycle had gotten. So here is where I stand with dubstep, a genre I once loved so much. It is a genre that has now been distilled to a core of drops, wubs, and buzzer sounds seemingly randomly picked from a sound bank. Songs where in between the drops you feel nothing, you do nothing because its sucks and it's boring until the drop comes. It is a genre I never listen to anymore.
Now as hipster as that tirade made me sound, I want to be very clear about something regarding the DATSIK show. That shit was still fun as fuck. His set piece was a giant white speaker cone, in which he sat in the middle. It pulsed lasers with every thump and wobble. The tracks weren't exactly nuanced or complex. It didn't give me that what-the-fuck-is-this? feeling of excitement like the first time I heard Skream or Benga, but it didn't have to because it made that room dance and for the entirety of DATSIK's set, the Regency Ballroom was shaking.
The hedonism of a dubstep show still shocks me. The girls were dressed in the requisite panties, tubetop and furry boots. The men were shirtless and all wearing backpacks. It was an all-ages show so god knows how old they all were. One thing was for sure, I am old as fuck now. Apparently if you’re old, you’re probably holding Molly because I was asked like 10 times. The last chick that asked me had fucking braces. Man, I was 17 in the wrong fucking era, back then I was listening to depressing shit like Underworld and Portishead and these lucky kids are on Molly, timing their make-out sessions with dubstep drops, aka the dream.
DATSIK's strong hip-hop influences seeped into his set. It was these influences I enjoyed the most, reminiscent of old DJ Shadow and scratch culture DJ’s all culminating in a dubstep rendition of RJD2’s 'Ghostwriter'. The super slowed down version of 'Tequila' had the room dancing like Pee-Wee Herman drinking sizzurp and it was a welcomed intermission until the monstrous frenetic beats started again.
His sound was overall aggressive and 'hard', a clear indication that this was actually 'brostep' that I was dancing to, the other indication being the army of 'bros' who were in the air chest bumping as the drops hit. I would probably have a hard time listening to DATSIK on headphones in my apartment. But I wasn’t in my apartment. I was here and it was loud and there was an army of youth having the time of their lives and in this setting...
DATSIK was awesome.