Constellation Room, Santa Ana
Feb. 28, 2012
Dubtroit celebrated its third birthday last night at the Constellation Room with The End is Near Tour, featuring local favorite 12th Planet plus guests. Filled with (mostly) a bro-type demographic, the event was predictably high energy and rowdy.
First off, however, we have to congratulate SMOG LA for successfully bringing the dubstep culture to Orange County. The night, which originated at Detroit Bar, made a home at the Constellation Room in all of its high-tech sound gear and laser light show glory. Dubtroit has come a long way in three years, andThe End is Near Tour
proved it, successfully making its way from Miami all the way back to Orange County and finally meeting its maker in Oregon this March. It was a fairly positive homecoming for 12th Planet as well as supporting acts, Kastle and Flinch.
Shortly after arriving on the scene (five minutes, to be exact) someone accosted me, asking to share my drugs with a couple of friendly dubsteppers. Too bad I left those at home in my underwear drawer. Sadly, the stigma associated with electronic music was confirmed as soon as I walked through the door. In all honesty, dubstep is a genre that can be appreciated without the use of stimulants, but the demographic last night was on a mission to refute this theory.
Kastle, an artist out of San Francisco, hyped up the crowd with "Who's feelin' high tonight?" just one of the lyrical subjects flowing through his music. I sure as hell wished I had felt high that night. His set primarily consisted of house-based music, along with the typical dub bassline thrown in sporadically. If I had A.D.D. I might have enjoyed his set. At the end of his takeover, I felt he had gravitated more towards the heavy bass associated with the currently popular dubstep genre. I felt like I was having a heart attack and forgot my Xanax in the car. As David after dentist would say, "I feel funny, is this gonna be forever?!" On to the next one...,
JRabbit, a special guest brought on stage by Kastle, was a surprisingly delightful transition. From listening to his music, I could tell that he had a strong knowledge of musical theory and structure. Even well put together electronic music is based on a solid structure. He even had a F Clef (Bass Clef) tattoo on his right forearm for music geek street cred. He quickly won over the crowd with his high energy, heavy bass lines and rousing rendition of the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" theme song. This was the dubstep that I had been waiting for all night. A great performer all around, I was oddly attracted to his energy and butchy "Rosie O'Donnell post coming out of the closet" hairdo (does this make me a lesbian?!).
Flinch, up next, seemed to bring on the tinnitus. The crowd, whether on E or not, could feel the bass in their chests radiating all the way up to their ruptured ear drums. Rocking an LED baseball hat encrusted with BASS, I knew I was in for something volcanic as soon as he strolled onto the stage. Heavily influenced by the hip-hop genre, Flinch embodied every sort of flashy hip-hop stereotype I could have imagined. He had a glowing neon sign with his name on it, for crying out loud. He actually spoke into a microphone (I had no idea that dubstep DJs had voices up until that point) to hype up the crowd. The bass on his tracks was just as heavy as his ego, for I started to experience vertigo (which is not necessarily the best scenario for someone standing on the stairs). Despite this, I managed to survive his entire set. In all honesty, I had felt like I had heard his tracks so many times before, the shit was getting stale. The crowd, on the other hand, could not get enough of this egotistical dude in glowing gear.
12th Planet engulfed the Constellation Room with his original tracks. Not a soul was left static on the entire floor. I needed ear plugs--not because the music was terrible, but I had just lost about five more inner ear cells just standing within 20 feet of this guy. Aaand, the crowd was moshing. Let me reiterate, the crowd was moshing to dubstep. At one point he had stopped the music and the crowd knew all of the lyrics to finish the song. Overstimulation was at its finest with LED screens featuring red bunnies and green skeletons (not to mention the bright spotlights and the insane movement of the crowd). His set actually made me want to dance more than the previous supporting acts. Usually I loathe when rappers vocalize over the DJ's tracks, but the lovely man in dreads on stage enticed me with his performance. His vocals really enhanced the dub that was flowing from Planet's speakers. It was if the crowd were paying homage to some sort of god-like entity. OK, 12th Planet wins dubstep god of the year.
Despite the inconsiderate and clumsy crowd, SMOG LA brought a great show to Orange County. I had my doubts (none of the other music bloggers would be caught dead at a dubstep show) but I had a great, high-on-life kind of time. Dubstep is an acquired taste, but when done correctly, it can liven up and energize anyone with an open mind (if you can handle the eardrum hangover post show). Unlike Mr. Grohl, I like to appreciate all types of music; from digital to a capella, they all hold a special little place in my iPod.
The Crowd: Pretty much the epitome of every douchebag I hate at concerts. Flinch had to stop the show in order to lecture the guys on being considerate to the few ladies that were on the dance floor.
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Critic's Bias: I had a vodka-infused love affair/dance party with 12th Planet this past summer at Lollapalooza. Only the vodka, thousands of other Lollapaloozers and I are aware of this said affair. Translation: I drank a lot of vodka and danced my ass off to his set at Lollapalooza, just let me have this one thing.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I feel like I have to be on fucking speed to dance to this"
Random Notebook Dump: Those gloves with lights in them do not require talent unless you're communicating sign language. Until then, for the love of all things holy, leave those to Michael Jackson. Also, I'm not the typical club-goer, stop asking me to take a photo or dance for your stupid video. Who knows what kind of spank bank I'll end up in, pervs.