Live Review: Skrillex with Flux Pavilion at London Koko – 16th November 2011

By on Thursday, 24th November 2011 at 2:00 pm

There’s a lot to be said for dubstep as a genre, it’s risen from an underground movement in the mid-Noughties to primetime Radio 1 seemingly in the blink of an eye. What started as an offshoot of the London grime scene has taken over UK’s clubs and has made its way stateside, creating a whole new breed of animal. Skrillex aka Sonny Moore aka that guy from From First to Last is the hottest property in the current incarnation of dubstep, which relies one ‘the dirtier the better’ philosophy. Tonight he is kicking off his new headline UK tour at London Koko.

As tonight’s revellers packed inside for the sold out first night of Skrillex’s Mothership tour, Flux Pavilion enters the stage to give Camden a noise-induced bass injection for the best part of an hour. Founding Circus Records with other dubstep cohort Doctor P, Flux Pavilion has been making a name for himself in electronic music for the past few years. His DJ set is full of hard-hitting drops and intense drum beats from some of the biggest producers in the genre, as well as welcome additions from Foreign Beggars and a crowd-pleasing remix of the Tetris theme. Despite being generally crowd-pleasing, though, Flux Pavilion just doesn’t have that charisma and attitude that you’d expect from a DJ playing to almost 1500 people. The odd hand movement and “Are you OK, London?” exclamation manage to rile the crowd enough to keep dancing (and moshing – oddly), but in terms of showmanship FP needs a little more work. Especially when being followed by Skrillex.

A black curtain has been at the front of the stage all evening, which no-one seemed to mind as DJs only need decks…right? Behind the curtains, though, is a fully functional audio/visual stage set up for Skrillex to watch over his people atop a pyramid in front of a huge screen displaying various Skrillex logos and retro 8-bit imagery. Opening on ‘My Name Is Skrillex’, Camden comes to life as KOKO screams along to the electronic voice coming from the laptop.

As much as dubstep music has evolved in terms of sound, so has its fanbase. No longer is it dreadheads, stoners and internet geeks, it’s hit the mainstream full force and the clientèle are now more inclined to get drunk and jump into each other. This isn’t Skrillex’s fault, he’s merely the poster boy for the unaffectionately named ‘brostep’. His own version is built around deep bass drops and glitchy synth rhythms that can cause a brain haemorrhage, which is far removed from the likes of Skream and DJ Hatcha yet still holds its own and has a deserved place amongst the dubstep pioneers and new innovators.

His set is filled firm favourites in the mainstream dubstep world, including his own remixes of Nero‘s ‘Promises’, La Roux‘s ‘In For The Kill’ and Benny Benassi‘s ‘Cinema’. Relying upon crushing drops and squelches and splats throughout, the crowd are loving every deafening minute of it. The rib-shaking bass of ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ and ear popping kicks push the night onward as Sonny delivers an hour and a half assault on the senses with his anti-epilepsy light show. The upshot of which leaves you mesmerised by the long-haired, skinny jean-wearing antics of one of the fastest rising stars in electronic music. The downside leaves your brain numb and your clothes covered in lager. Well worth it for the dance factor, but is this the face of dubstep to come, or just a fad? Judging my tonight’s reception, it’s here for a while yet.

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