Concert Reviews

Skrillex and Knife Party at 1STBANK, 10/31/12


As a katana of turquoise and green lasers sliced through the Skrilliens on the second level of 1STBANK, the tag-teaming headliners Skrillex and Knife Patty traded licks on the crowd with effortless chemistry. First it was Dillon Francis's "Masta Blasta," and that lead into heavy concoction of whatever Sonny Moore had at his fingertips, followed by a vocal sample and hook tease from Birdy Nam Nam's "Goin In," all of which culminated with a segue back into "Masta Blasta" with soothing laser waves lighting up the room. And this was just two minutes of a two hour set.

See also: - Slideshow: Skrillex fans at 1STBANK - Review: Skrillex at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 8/9/12 - Review: Skrillex at 1STBANK Center, 10/31/11 - Q&A Skrillex on his stage name: Blame AOL - Dubstep for Dummies, a primer for newly-minted dubstep fans - Video: Welcome to the Dubstep Parking Lot

The stage, which on this ghastly evening was marveled at by masquerading Coloradoans in almost every costume under the sun, didn't possess the same mystique and bewilderment as it has in previous performances. Instead, an eery mansion with a second story deck covered nearly the entire stage -- save for a few grave stones scattered on each side and some relatively small LED panels. It wasn't until the headliners appeared on the second floor terrace that most of us were even aware there was a top floor of the house.

In a great juxtaposition, the moment the house lights went down for the headliners, the entire blacked-out venue erupted in barely uncontained excitement. For the second year in a row, Skrillex has performed in Broomfield, and this year, he pushed the bar even higher by tag teaming with fellow dubstep producers Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen, the pair otherwise known collectively as Knife Party.

Opening their Halloween set with foot steps, door creaks and a suspenseful melody, the two acts approached the top story deck and wasted no time in getting down to business. Relying pretty heavily on the success of hits from the past two years, Skrillex mixed his bangers, which, as it happens, consists of pretty much his albums in their entirety, while Knife Party rested on the laurels of their recent chart toppers. Knife Party's "Internet Friends," with the female vocals, "you blocked me on Facebook, now you're going to die!" was scattered throughout a few mixes, along with several cycles ending with Skrillex's "Breakin' a sweat."

Skrillex and Knife Party did throw in some candy tracks to make everyone get in the mood -- candy tracks because it's just like giving a fistful of pixie stixs getting them all amped on sugar. The candy in question here happened to be "This is how we do it," and it worked perfectly, given the raging response it received from the fist-pumping crowd. This followed a cut of "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites," a now classic Skrillex track.

When the turntables were under Skrillex's command once more, he opted to drop into a Diplo's "Express Yourself," which either knocked a cord loose or simply glitched the system, either way, a 15-20 second pause filled with silence killed the mood. Not completely, but enough to warrant Swire to pick up a microphone and quickly try to cover with some useless banter. This didn't, by any means, derail the show, just damped the mood momentarily.

The rest of the night raged, with Skrillex and Knife Party trading songs in five to ten minute intervals, occasionally borrowing samples from each other, and always transitioning into the next perfectly. It was a mostly flawless production, even if it was missing a certain something to really send it over the edge -- maybe it was the overplayed tracks and the lack of new stuff, or maybe it was the just the show itself.

Each act could've headlined this show, so maybe putting them together was overkill from the music stand point. Whatever the case, it was Halloween and people were dressed to the weirdest of nines ready to get down to loud music and be blasted with lights, fire, fireworks, and lasers. That happened and then some, and most everybody left completely satisfied.


Personal Bias: Given last year's Halloween extravaganza with Skrillex, I was expecting to be blown away.

Random Detail: Whoever Skrillex's light guy is, is amazing. He was working harder, raging harder, and generally going harder than anyone in the entire venue. And it showed in the light performance.

By the Way: Skrillex hinted that he would be playing 1STBANK again next year.

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Britt Chester is a writer and video producer living in Denver, Colorado. He's covered breaking news, music, arts and cannabis for Westword since 2010. His work has appeared in GQ Magazine, Village Voice, YES! Weekly, Inman News and the Winston-Salem Journal. He likes running, cycling, and interviewing people.
Contact: Britt Chester