With Delta Heavy, Bare Noize and AFK
Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale
September 19, 2012
Better than: Any other bass system we've ever heard, ever.
Dubstep is all about that deep, heavy bass, but last night at Revolution Live, Datsik brought the intensity to a whole new level.
>- Datsik on Korn's Jonathan Davis: "He Knows More About Hip-Hop Than I Do"
- Slideshow: Datsik's Firepower Records Show at Revolution
On his current Firepower Records tour, the Canadian hard-hitter is circling the continent with a new stage set-up like nothing he's ever experienced. He DJs from a massive, spiraling vortex of light and bolsters his selections with a 50,000-watt PA system. You might say that kind of sound is excessive, and maybe you're right, but it definitely kicks ass in person.
But you can't just start a night off with 50,000 watts right out of the bag. You have to warm a crowd up for that sort of bone-rattling insanity.
When we got there, AFK was working the decks toward that goal, but that doesn't mean he was taking it easy on them. The first thing we heard coming through the doors was the familiar trap beat of Flosstradamus' "Original Don" remix. That tinny drum machine trap style continued to make its way into everyone's set that night.
Even though it was earlier than 11 p.m., the place was crawling with raver kids dressed in their kandi best. The dance floor in the center of the venue was packed and pulsating to the beat. AFK played from a table on the left of the stage, most of which was consumed by Datsik's vortex booth. We couldn't see it yet. It was still hidden behind a gray tarp.
The young crowd chanted and woo'd for the man, who played until 10:40, when the U.K.'s dubstep duo Bare Noize took over. The two blokes were dressed in matching snapbacks and T-shirts, bobbing to the beat together. They looked like twins.
"Put your hands in the air for AF fucking K," they shouted. "Is y'all having a good time?"
The place roared to life as they got into it, starting their set off with some melodic tracks and working the crowd back up to the really heavy shit all over again. White and yellow lights flashed above the partiers' heads. All were either dancing, moshing, or just playing with lights in the hallways.
They kept the atmosphere dynamic, melding genres into their bass-heavy set. They dropped the Skrillex remix with the Doors, "Breakin' a Sweat," and Dillon Francis' "Hulk" remix. They'd bring in a light melody with vocals from time to time, only to mix it up fast into another gnarly build and drop, and the kids were loving it.
At 11:30, it was time for Delta Heavy, a solo act also based in London. "All right, everybody, give it up for Bare Noize," he said as the men thanked the crowd. "Make some noise."
His intro included a man talking about the future that he mixed right into some beautifully disgusting head-banging tracks. He kept it lively, mixing in trap, drum 'n' bass, drumstep, even hard moombahcore.
He had the crowd completely, but unfortunately, his set was marred by technical difficulties as he came to his last 20 minutes. There was some kind of problem with the mixer and electricity, and several times, his transitions got stuck and the sound died completely. You could see his frustration as he struggled to keep the vibe, apologizing to the crowd, which was still enthralled by his performance.
Luckily, they stayed with him until he simply finished his set the best he could and walked away. The loudspeakers came on, playing classic tunes like Bob Marley while Datsik's crazy set-up was finalized.
By 12:45, the tarp was coming off, and a huge roar swept through the crowd of dancing fiends. The hat-wearing headliner climbed into his giant vortex and dropped the first track. "Guess I got my swagger back," the voice on the song said, but just then the music cut out once more.
"Yo, Fort Lauderdale, I don't know what is in the air tonight, but the power keeps cutting off on us," he said. "Let's start this over again, all right?"
He went back into the starting track, and this time, his swagger never faltered. The show went on without a hitch from that moment on, and upon his first real drop, the reality of the 50,000 watts set in for the whole place.
"I've never felt my whole body shake like this," one girl yelled to her friend over the sound, and it was true. Every part of our bodies was rattled by the intensity. Standing directly in front of the stage was like being in a hurricane of sound, completely overwhelming. And when matched with the epic visuals of the spiral, which constantly changed color and flashed geometric shapes, the presentation became a completely immersive experience.
"Yo, who likes that trap shit?" Only everyone, so he gave it to them like a real gangsta, gun sounds and everything. The kids chanted along and did their best wobbly dances. He dropped his popular remix of "Animale" and destroyed the place, the mosh pit going ham in the center of it all.
He took the kids back with Rusko's "California Love" remix and had the shoulders bouncing. He slowed it down and made it real sexy, dropping the dubstep classic "Bass Canon." At one point, Datsik came out from inside the vortex and worked the crowd up in front before jumping into their arms. One fan climbed out of the mess and crowd-surfed after him.
He went hard until the very end, and even past his 2 a.m. cutoff, he couldn't resist playing one last song for the crowd, which was still extremely hyped. He dropped House of Pain's "Jump Around" before inviting everyone to party and drink a beer next door in Green Room, where they planned to keep the party going. Too bad most of them weren't even of age.
As everyone filed out and got their bearings back, their faces were covered in smiles. Not even a little power outage could ruin the vibe of the night. The bone-shattering bass of the "Firepower" tour is something no one will soon forget.
Personal bias: It might have been a safe idea to bring earplugs.
The crowd: Mostly under 21-year-olds dressed in baggy dark clothes or almost nothing.
Overwhelming trend: Everyone loves that real trap shit. It can't be stopped.