Holy Ship, Maiden Voyage
The scope of Sasha Frere-Jones’ reviews may actually have a limit, who would’ve thought, not I. In the January 16, 2012 issue of the New Yorker, SFJ peeks through the keyhole into electronic dance music. The article contextualizes the genre’s emergence as a rebellious activity intended to “build a wall between [teenagers] and the hideous adults who micromanage their lives.” But this is all wrong… We are the hideous adults who micromanage our lives, and this is how we party.
We like to play hard. For the most part, we aren’t Wall St. aggressors living off outrageous bonuses with boners for money. We live on the grind as working professionals, only to reward ourselves with seventy two hours of binge music, welcoming the recovery process with a healthy dose of all natural 5HTP.
Dance music doesn't exist to divide groups of people, kids from parents, ravers from squares, tranceheads from bassheads. All too often house music fans are stereotyped as Jersey Shore boneheads beating the beat. Ok, you’ll find a few of those in the crowd, but most bros are moving like an interpretive dance ensemble. After a marathon of dancing, some do stop to check out the bobbing DJ. When you look up don’t expect to see the top of head buried in a mixing board. Joel Zimmerman (aka Deadmau5) infamous for his Jim Henson trademark mouse head is one of the many theatrical DJs. Steve Aoki, founder of Dim Mak records, showers the crowd in champagne. My fantasy performance is South African stars Die Antwoord opening with a ninja theme while Aoki sabers the bottle. While on the maiden voyage of Holy Ship! (THANK YOU Gary Richards) I witnessed ravers of all colors, professions and varying levels of intoxication ditch their inhibitions; a group of frat guys dancing on point, ballet style to Buraka Som Sistema. In this wonderland there is no shame to moving at the mercy of a man in a mouse head.
One fundamental element that SFJ missed is that this music is entirely about togetherness. It is inviting, the audience and the musicians are having a blast. Heavyweights like Wes Pentz aka Diplo are as psyched to discover a newcomer like 22-year-old Zedd as they would be to share the stage with Daft Punk. On Holy Ship! the proscenium stage was packed with DJs awing over each other’s tracks, collaborating and improvising with their own beats. At a recent Girls & Boys party at NYC’s Webster Hall, Destructo and the Bromance boys rocked the stage. Gesaffelstein with the poise of Mark Ronson, and Brodinski with grit on the tables, both looked sexy with cigarettes in hand while Gina Turner and Atrak hung out behind the mixing deck. No one is sitting in the lounge backstage, the VIP section is the stage.
What it comes down to is hard work. As fans, we aren’t going to marvel over hoots and repetitive, lazy beats. We will whole heartedly applause for the artists sweating through the week to give an explosive performance.
On my days off you’ll find me by the speakers absorbing the bass so hard that the hairs on my arm shake.