Excision and Dirtyphonics unleash ‘150,000 Watts of Bass’ in Los Angeles [Event Review]
While walking down the bustling downtown Los Angeles street on Saturday night, I found myself immersed in a throng of quick-paced, eager attendees headed towards the The Shrine. Despite the colder-than-usual Southern California chill, this group was already bobbing and tapping their feet to the rumble of the bass seeping through the walls of the towering venue. When I asked who they were most excited to see, one of their group members responded: “Oh, Excision, of course,” as he handed his ticket to the security officer. “I hope you brought your ear plugs.”
The Excision tour stop in Los Angeles drew a sizable and serious crowd, already swinging and swaying to the thundering drum and bass kicks of Eptic early in the night. Despite the toned down bass and production, several technical glitches caught both the audience and DJ by surprise, but the booming blasts eventually returned to a clamor of cheers as the show continued to rattle and shake the windows of The Shrine.
A wave of frenzy hit the crowd as the evening moved on to the last opener. Despite only having half of their quartet, Dirtyphonics jumped right into the booth and shouted out a forthright introduction with their signature question, “Are you ready to get dirty?.” The French bass music collective proceeded to drop a rollercoaster of bass artillery, including their own remix of Datsik and Excision’s “Deviance” and Loudpvck’s rendition of “Fuzzy Peach.” They then closed out their wild portion of the show with a leaping stage dive in synchronization to the thundering drop from their remix to Kaskade and Project 46’s “Last Chance.”
Electronic music’s recent rise and embrace of downtempo and deep house vibes may have convinced some that heavier dub styles were being pushed to the back burner. Instantly, with a quick draw and reveal of his massive, one-of-a-kind stage set up, Excision blew that theory straight out of the water. The Canadian dubstep connoisseur’s ‘Executioner’ installation lives up to its ‘mind-blowing’ title. Like a prop from the Universal Studios Transformers ride, the stage was transformed into a larger-than-life spaceship with feature film worthy visual displays and a cut-away DJ perch.
In an explosion of sensations, the reveal of the ‘Executioner’ was aptly paired with an abrupt dial up of the bass sound system as Jeff Abel dived head first into his anticipated show. To describe Excision’s ‘150,000 Watts of Bass’ as thunderous would be a grave understatement; a wave of immense spine-shuddering power rolled through his packed audience as he kicked through several of his “Destroid” series.
Excision and Downlink’s “Rock You” struck a sweet and deep groove with his audience as his awe-inspiring stage set up began to transform from a laser-shooting robot battle scene to a race car highway scene. Several minutes into Excision’s set, however, the ‘Executioner’ visuals sputtered out. The production fizzle went unnoticed as the driving bass lines carried the show onwards, but then, just a few strokes past 1 AM with still a scheduled hour to go for the show, the entire set went silent. Technicians scrambled for a few tense minutes before Excision reappeared to announce that he’d had enough of the technical difficulties and would finish the rest of the show on CDJs.
Perhaps it was the outcome of his frustration with the night’s technical difficulties intertwined with a chance to return to basics; Excision instantly fell into a organic and free-flowing set as the crowd returned to jam alongside him. He seamlessly jumped from bass torrents like his own “Crowd Control” to welcomed nods like Schoolboy’s remix to Martin Solveig’s “Hey Now.” The producer took hold of the closing hour of his show and finished his set with gusto and a final apology as the last rumbles of his roaring tracks faded into the evening.