Why We're A Little Disappointed In Skrillex's Red Rocks Performances
When Skrillex announced he'd be bringing his infamous “Mothership Tour” to Red Rocks Amphitheater this past weekend, I was more than excited to catch the Grammy-winning artist’s new stage set up and hear his latest arsenal of tunes. This two-night run was the finale to his month-long tour, and it has received an astonishing amount of positive feedback for the song selection, stage set up, and energy. I attended both of his performances this past weekend, and I can tell you first hand that it was far below what I had expected from the iconic dj.
When I attend a show, I consider it a necessity for every dj to create a uniquely mixed set for each of their performances, whether its just for a night or a month-long tour. Why would you limit yourself to playing the same set every time when you can push your boundaries, develop new intricacies in your performance, and provide a unique experience to every single person attending? Something generally taken into consideration is the fact that headlining acts such as Skrillex work hard in creating a dynamic and captivating show, mixing their music with a vast amount of supplemental visual aids. This ancillary planning can actually hinder the freedom of a dj’s performance, as the specific pre-planned set can naturally become locked into the tour’s stage design and routine. I feel this was the case with Skrillex’s performance last weekend, as he clearly performed the same set on Friday night as he did on Saturday. You can understand how this would frustrate many of the shows’ double-attendees, as they spent a considerable amount of money just to experience a different supporting roster and repeat performance of the same Skrillex set.
As an avid listener of EDM, I also expect that every dj will use their abilities to creatively reinterpret the music that their audience might know and properly introduce the music that their audience might not. Skrillex certainly did this to a degree with his set list while at Red Rocks, but there were numerous occasions where the crowd was not nearly as “hyped” as Sonny was for the music he was playing. I attribute this partly to the "re-drop" approach he took towards many of the older songs he played, as there were countless times that he would drop one song, introduce a new one in its transition, and then immediately return to the original song as it played out. This push-and-pull approach to each song became routine and tiresome after a short period of time, and ultimately lead my disinterest in his set list and increased focus on his stage setup.
Now, there comes a point when you can truly dismiss all of these attributes in a dj set and still enjoy the show, but it appeared to me that this tour was particularly more focused in captivating its audience with visual components instead of bonding with it auditorily. Thousands, if not millions of dollars were put into the development of Skrillex’s stage design, and it has undoubtedly influenced the growing consumerism in EDM culture today - the bigger the lights, the bigger the crowd. Skrillex will always be one of the most gifted producers and djs around, but I can only hope that his rapidly growing image does not continue to impede his natural ability to create seamlessly tasteful mixes and performances.