I'm a DJ at a rock station, I like my riffs played on guitars and I don't even know what dubstep is. However I was in Wellington a few weeks ago eating a kebab when I accidentally stumbled up some stairs into a gig. For the first minute the music was all techno and wussy, and then suddenly I was hit in the face with an incredibly loud digital "BOOOOOM WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP", and everyone went loose for a bit then it went back to wussy again. Apparently it was dubstep. It was kind of cool but before I could get my head around it, the dangerously drunk mate I was with started yelling at the stage "you wankers just downloaded Skrillex off YouTube". We had to leave.
First thing in the morning I looked up Skrillex, and every clip had 70 million views. This is either the biggest thing on the planet or it's the first YouTube-only music phenomenon.
So with mild excitement I went to Vector Arena Friday night for the incredibly early Die Antwoord, Skrillex and Fatboy Slim show.
Strangely, millions and millions of views only translate into a half-full Vector. Two weeks ago Roger Waters sold the place out four nights in a row. Clearly Skrillex isn't as big as Floyd, yet. He is however really popular with kids. Well, children. The place was crawling with groups of flashily-dressed 12-year-olds.
Die Antwoord was funny but not as exciting as a few years back at the Big Day Out, and then Skrillex hit the stage. A little dreadlocked chap dancing around like a spider behind his decks. It wasn't too bad. Especially when it went "BOOOOOM WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP" in time with Mortal Kombat graphics. The lighting was spectacular and the crowd was great. The whole thing was very futuristic - I'm no dance aficionado but I couldn't help but be impressed with the super-wasted moves going down. As for Skrillex's skills, who knows how much of the music he generates or alters, but it all seemed pretty complicated. So I was enjoying myself, smiling, nodding my head, and then suddenly out of the blue I got bored and went to the bar.
There are some forms of music that I just don't get, but I get why people like Skrillex. The guitar riff dubstep drop comparison isn't a new one. They both generate the same "f**k yeah" feeling. I got it from Iron Maiden at Mt Smart, these kids get it from Skrillex. Sweet as. Fatboy Slim was on next and the old bloke has his act sorted. I reckon Fatboy was a little bit better than Skrillex at whatever it is they do.
All in all a pretty good night out, but in my books live guitars will always be cooler.
Who: Die Antwoord, Skrillex and Fatboy Slim
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Friday 2 March