I was an Excision virgin. I’d had the “talk,” where they tell you what to expect, how it will feel, to bring protection (aka earplugs), but the real thing was an experience no amount of coaching or education could prepare me for.

Being literally warped by sound is an adventure only a particularly reckless (and maybe a little warped themselves) group of fearless headbangers dare to subject themselves to. One does not simply sit back and listen to the music, the music happens to you - to your eyes, your ears, your body, your mind, your soul. It’s an immersive, holistic experience that can't not move you, in all the ways. This is why I’m in love with dance music, and why my first Excision show only intensified my passion for EDM.

I WAS AFRAID I COULDN’T HANDLE IT, BUT WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU...

After seeing videos of the Paradox a year ago, I wasn’t entirely sure my hyper sensitive body-mind could manage the sensory assault, as enticing as it looked. But when Jeff announced a two-day

 show in Denver featuring the same mild-melting production I’d seen videos of, I decided to take the plunge and locked down my ticket. YOLO y’all.

Now I’m basically counting down the days until he returns.

The opening lineup was an epic event in itself - Dion Timmer, Lumberjack, Barely Alive B2B Dubloadz, Cookie Monsta B2B Funtcase, the legendary Caspa - I would have paid the same money for the foreplay alone and been satisfied. But it would have fallen short of one thing: audiovisual annihilation. This is why Xers from Canada to Texas and everywhere in between sold out every one of Excision’s shows on his 2017 tour, and why I’ll never miss another one that comes through my town as long as I have a head to bang.

So what did I learn from my first Excision show that made it so special?

MUSIC CONNECTS US TO EACH OTHER

Once the main event starts happening, it’s nearly impossible to leave the floor. The music is like a magnet, imploring you to hold your ground. As I buckled up in my stage right spot for the duration, dancing side by side with friends and strangers alike, I was very aware that I was not in this alone. We were all here on the same ride, together, come what may. The power of live music to unite is real, and it’s why cultures throughout history have blended it into their celebrations, rituals and definitive communal moments. Music makes bonds that aren’t easily broken.

MUSIC IS REAL LIFE

At some point, the movement of your body to what you’re hearing becomes so involuntary that it becomes impossible to be anywhere else but here, now. The mind is taken over by movement and sensation. We don’t often give ourselves over to our senses, let go of the storyline of the mind and just be, just move, just feel, become inhabited by what’s happening IRL. But life only happens in this moment - the music keeps us here.

MUSIC TEACHES US TO LET GO

When our full attention is absorbed in what we’re experiencing, we’re forced to let go of everything else. All the shit we’re scared to let go of, and we don’t even know why ...call it ego, or control, or emotion. Whatever it is we’re holding on to, we have to give it up to the body-shaking, mind-erasing, sensory-dominating power of sound. Like woah.

I can’t count how many times I came to the end of myself, and kept going. Music shows us what we’re capable of.

MUSIC IS LOVE

At the risk of sounding like a millennial hippie, this music reminds me that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. I can’t quite describe it, nor do I want to try. It’s just that I know when I’m there that we are One, and we wouldn’t be whole without each other. To me, this is love.

Lost in sonic oblivion, found in this moment of connection, trust, and love. I guess that’s why they call it the Paradox.

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