September 3rd, 2012
I Survived The Budweiser Made In America Festival On The Parkway And Had Exactly Two 24-Ounce $11 Budweiser Cans, Pt. 3
It’s nearing the end of Day 1 and I’m losing patience faster than I’d like to admit. As I sit in the media tent, I am trying to not listen to Skrillex who has the undivided attention of tens of thousands of drunk assholes. This is not new – I’ve always hated Skrillex and his music. I don’t understand it and I resent its appeal. As the Dirty Projectors set came to an end, a massive futuristic tank started getting rolled onto stage; this was his throne from which he would play records or whatever, spin files and twist nobs, and captivate a crowd of RABID ‘dubstep’ fans. And they are here in full force.
As far as Day 1 goes, it seems like the crowd is divided between hip-hop enthusiasts and dance music fans. It was palpable. VERY few people were excited about Passion Pit and the Dirty Projectors. I know this because I waited in a long, patience-trying line for my first $11 beer of the day as the Dirty Projectors took the stage. A particularly obnoxious dude was quite vocal about how “fucked up” this event was because they put “one of the most popular acts this weekend” at the Freedom Tent. Apparently, it was damn-near impossible to get INSIDE the tent for Calvin Harris’ set. AND, to make matters worse, all the cast-aside Calvin Harris fans were displaced to the Dirty Projectors set and making obnoxious comments about the sound of the band and shouting things like “This is music?!” One glassy-eyed muscular dude in a red-and-white starry tank top and cargo shorts tried to engage me and asked me if I lived around here, who the band was, if they were local and he just looked lost.
I had to, out of curiosity and writerly duty, go check out the Skrillex set and I was not surprised at what I witnessed. That goddamn robot music had the droves grooving and twerking like crazy. It was fun to watch completely obliterated drunk white muscle men dancing ever-so-slowly and miming the notion of ‘This is the shit. I’m feeling this stuff.’ Drunks meandered, stumbled and wandered through the crowds to show love for Skrillex and his brand of robotic dubstep. I just don’t get it. Every song seems to have this element of squeaky, skronky and annoying beeping or sonic grinding. Is it that the rhythm is so upfront or that there’s such a palpable bounce that makes drunk people so intoxicated by this noise pollution? Even waiting in line for my second and last beer of the night, shoulders were bouncing and friends were grinding on each other.
Thing is: I like dance music. I like danceable hip-hop, I like house flavors. But I prefer the way that Hercules and Love Affair or Azaelia Banks use it. For whatever reason, Skrillex makes me angry. It’s the same repetitive crap with small tweaks of choruses, underlying melodies or remixed vocals. But, let me tell you, it is working straight-up MAGIC over this crowd. This fool’s on the secondary stage, the Liberty Stage, and it’s the most packed I’ve seen it all day.
And one last thing before I go take in Jay-Z. Miike Snow was the main stage act before Jay. And maybe they put them on the main stage because they have a well-developed light show and they seem to have a pretty full, stadium-packing sound. But they got very little love from the crowd. There were a few songs that seemed to get the crowd jumping, like the single “Animal.” When Snow and his band played their last note, there was not a single whoop from the crowd. As in, after their last song, it was complete silence. Like I’d never seen before. What is with these people? Are they just in the main stage space because they want to reserve a spot for the Jay-Z set or just killing time before they go get wild during the Skrillex set? It almost seemed surreal. How can you dance through or groove to a band’s set, even if you don’t know who they are, and not at least clap or cheer a little when they’re all done? It was like a dream. And then Skrillex started his set with “Stir It Up,” not even remixed or tweaked. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Jigga better come through and redeem this whole night right now.