CONCERT RECAP: Skrillex + Craze + LOUISAHHH!!! @ The Independent, SF 2/3/14

When the news dropped late last year that Skrillex would be doing a set of shows in San Francisco dubbed as a “Takeover”, I was pretty amped up at the possibility that I would get a chance to see the Prince of Dubstep up close and personal at one of my hometown venues. As luck would have it, I had a friend who was quick to the draw for tickets for the Independent show and I caught Skrillex last night in the smallest venue on the run and the first venue that he played in the city ahead of his week-long collection of shows. He debuted some new songs, debuted some new remixes, and generally brought the house down on a Monday night without doing anything even remotely unexpected.

That is, until Dave Chappelle came out and stage-dived to basically end the set. It’s safe to say I did not see that one coming.

Kicking off the show was DJ LOUISAHHH!!!, an amazing choice for the opener and definitely an artist I’m going to research a bit more based on what she threw down on stage. It was a great vibe to start the show and her hour long set definitely set the mood. Nothing was too heavy or hyphy and it seemed to take on a deep house feel at times, but after hearing all the music I heard last night it’s hard to discern genres at a certain point. Her stage presence was engaging yet relaxed, comfortable yet confident. I’m a fan.

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Craze came on after about a full hour of LOUISAHHH!!! and proceeding to change the feel of the night to a hip-hop trap-cannon set of low end that had us all moving hard. The crowd really started vibing at this point, and Craze knew how to play enough new trap and mix it with old-school turntablism to keep the crowd watching his every move. I had to applaud the effort front to back, especially considering that he had two very noticeable gaffes in the flow of the set, songs that had build-ups that went hard into a jarring transition into something else that had him looking left towards his laptop in disbelief. He always played it off well, and brought a profound sense of fun to the stage that had him feeling okay about his little mistakes. Knowing how DJ sausage is made, it’s pretty easy to let a mistake throw off your entire game and he didn’t let it phase him. He kept the energy going for a while until it was time for the headliner, and the crowd was ready for it after about two or three different moments where Craze was all “you guys ready for Skrillex? let me hear you make some noise!”

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when Sonny Skrillex finally hit the stage and danced a little bit with Craze before transitioning to his own set of decks, the headlining set kicked off a little bit before midnight and opened with something new. There was even an early mistake to which he turned and laughed it off with his roadie tech, but no one else noticed and he kept the energy build-up happening. The light show picked up and the crowd energy was there to rage along with him. I don’t remember the first real drop hitting for a minute or so, and the whole thing was a long, long DJ set of a blur of fun times. It may have been labeled a Skrillex show, but the one thing that came out of the set was that it was way more of a flowing DJ set with new deep house, dubstep, and trap style flourishes all over samples and vocal tracks he’s spun in the past. He dropped plenty of the hits that he’s known for like “Devil’s Den”, “Bangarang”, and “First of the Year (Equinox)”, but noticeably absent were tracks like his recent Chase & Status remix, “International” or the stuff off his Leaving EP.

None of it really mattered, I guess. Did it sound uniquely Skrillex? Yes. Was it only the first night of the run and did it deliver on what was promised? Definitely. And was it somewhat aggressive for a Monday night? Damn right. And that’s what we were all there for…

We weren’t the only ones in attendance for the show either. Towards the end of the show, Dave Chappelle came out and stood in front of the DJ station and proceeding to take a quick leap into the crowd.

From there he was carried the length of the room and brought down near the back towards the bar, although he didn’t actually stop for a drink. Sensing he would be mobbed, and he was sorta being mobbed already, he turned around, pushed past the crowd (at one point actually physically touching me directly), and went back to the dressing room area.

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After the show came towards a close with “Cinema” and Dave’s crowd-surfing, Skrillex looked out proud of the chaos he had caused and Dave Chappelle stood on the side sitting-benches and whipped his arm around getting the crowd into a final frenzy. Then everyone started chanting “Dave Chappelle! Dave Chappelle!”

It was, perhaps, the weirdest moment I’ve ever experienced at a concert on a Monday night at 1:30am. But, I did expect a bit of weirdness, so kudos to Skrillex for bringing some new music but still delivering what we all expected out of him.

skrillex at the indy sf

Skrillex plays tonight in San Francisco at the Regency Ballroom.