Last night, the number-one DJ in the world gave a piece of himself to one of the top clubs in the world. With little standing room, hardly a line at the bar and sweat dripping from the everyone standing on the upstairs balcony, Beta reminded everyone just why they've earned that designation. A long line at the opening didn't stop the sold-out club from reaching capacity quickly, which allowed the openers to perform in front of a full house.
With the recent upgrades at Beta and recent notoriety as the number one club in the country, selling this show out was pretty much a given. Skrillex is riding huge waves right now, from a chart-topping, bass-dropping cut with vocals by none other than America's favorite pop star to ridicule, Britney Spears to his recent stint on the MTV Woodies to the whopper of a set he dropped in Las Vegas just before coming to town.
Those who didn't sleep on the early opening -- 8 p.m., to be precise, roughly four hours before the headliner would even think of dropping a beat -- managed to find and maintain the choicest spots in the middle of the dance floor. It wasn't even 9:30 when the room became so flooded with eager groups of people that getting from the entrance to the DJ booth proved nearly impossible. Make that completely impossible.
Denver local and Whomp Truck regular Nate Ishe opened his set with what is becoming his signature statement: "Where all my dubsteppers at?" This sent said dubsteppers into a completely seized-out frenzy of sweat and sway. Ishe's short set set the place on fire before Trajikk -- a familiar face to anyone who has ever heard of Triad Dragons -- took to the decks and wound through some heavy house beats for a few minutes leading up to the headliner.
When Skrillex came out, he was welcomed by an exuberant crowd chanting his nam amid lights, smoke machines and go-go dancers. Stepping into the booth, he sarcastically pretended to spin a CD on the tables Trajikk was using. His opening line was simple and to the point: "I'm going to play you what I was making in my hotel room just thirty minutes ago."
A confident voice said, "I...Am...Skrillex" repeatedly before he burst into an iTunes favorite, "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites." There is YouTube video footage that gives a brief explanation as to how Skrillex composes his dirty, gurgling bass, but all would-be copycats have yet to compare. "Scary Monsters" didn't play for long before Skrillex twisted the knobs and threw the venue a curve ball by heavily glitching out the track. At this point, reaching any bathroom was impossible - unless you were brave enough to endure the sweat lodge that Beta calls its VIP section.
After dropping a Taio Cruz sample had girls all over the place smiling for their camera phones, Skrillex cut the beat and gave everyone a breather. What a guy! Because then it was on. From there, DJ Kool's unmistakable vocals came pounding through Beta's Funktion-One speakers, and the frosty Kryogenics, a recent addition within the past year or so, came blasting over everyone. When that cold air hits, it expands quickly and makes it impossible to see anything, which, for a DJ, might be a nice break from having 27 camera phones flashing in your face all night.
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Skrillex's house flavor came through perfectly on "All I Ask of You," which had every person singing along to the lovely lyrics, before he gave way to that signature sound that makes bowels shake and feet high-step to keep on the right beat. The drop is long and only continues its way down as the bass gets deeper and deeper.
Everyone seriously lost their minds when Skrillex sampled a Rusko beat, "Woo Boost," pretty much a one man dub orchestra in and of itself. Everyone knew the beat, and the grinding went on full throttle from the balcony down to the floor. There's a reason Skrillex is a number-one DJ, and it's because he's found a niche in a genre of music that offers DJs a very short shelf life.
Forget the MTV hype: This guy knows how to make music and how to mix it live. He's managed to take an underground sound, something unique to few people these days, and package it in the best way possible, making it available and radio-ready to the hordes of adoring fans who rabidly waited outside wearing next to nothing just to see him.
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I love me some dub, and Skrillex is at the top his game. By The Way: Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic, as well as Alex B., were spotted in the crowd. Not like that's odd, but it sure is reassuring knowing other local headliners are making it a priority to see someone. Random Detail: Beta is strict in its rules. Don't break them.