The line for the show was down the block on Tuesday night. Bitter night air tugged as snow flakes piled up on the streets and sidewalks. We stood motionless for what seemed like a long time before shuffling a few steps forward, only to stop suddenly again. What is this place coming to we wondered. A trio of friends in front of me laughed while the pretty blonde twirled her hula hoop, debating whether or not she could bring it in.
“But it’s the Westcott” she stated. Her boyfriend and I simply shook our heads.
“It’s a techno show. The place is probably packed” he reminded her. She sighed before running back through the snow, hoop in hand.
I talked with her man and the astronaut wearing the foam NASA helmet to pass some time. Lines like this are quickly becoming the norm as the Westcott continues to book diversely. Students along with an array of others waited patiently, many having to stand in line to reenter. The cold threatened to invade my body through my light clothing. There’s no coat check so it’s easier to go without most nights. The sound of a small engine cut through the usual noise as a small red go cart plowed down Westcott Street through the inches on the ground.
At the front of the line it was quickly apparent what had been causing the hold up. Three security guards inhabited the small entrance way, wrapped in Carhartts, coats and hats against the cold that flooded into the packed space beyond. People emptied their pockets and lifted their arms, presenting themselves with cell phones and wallets held aloft. Searches were thorough, a continuing theme with security running tight on evenings featuring electronica. Can’t trust those darn kids.
Antiserum was wrapping up his set to the packed floor of the old theater. Hands were held high, thumping in time to the heavy beats spilling from the large speakers occupying both sides of the stage. A tightly packed crowd, front and center bounced along with the bass, writhing together as a multi-headed mass in the flashing lights. The edges of the crowd moved with them, flowing out from stage.
Downlink took the stage without missing a beat. 50,000 watts of Rottun Recordings thumped mercilessly from the sound system designed for the unique experience that is dubstep. The scene has crashed into Central New York as main stays in the genre such as Bassnectar have visited and found the locale worth returning to as interest in electronic music continues to grow in the heart of the state. Dubstep is a sonic assault and Downlink wasted no time upping the ante as filthy bass beats wobbled ceaselessly from the speakers, slicing through the crowd to rock the back of the space.
The updated industrial sound built as his set continued. Grimy beats were created and modified the crowd continued, seemingly without tire, to rock their faces off to the unending torrent of technology driven riffs. Downlink’s background was apparent in his music as it seemed pulled out of an alternate reality where all the destruction some see in our future came to pass, a steam of sound flooding your mind with visions of a dark future.
Rottun Records was started by Excision and has begun to work its way into a big name in the dubstep scene. They hail from British Columbia, a land of ice and snow, and the industrial center of Kelowna, northeast of Vancouver. Their growing stable of artists fuse music with madness, painting a bleak picture of the future that resounds, shaking the walls of the venues they demolish. Behind the performers the giant R shone through them, bathing everyone present in waves of sound and light. Check them out here for a free 80 minute mix: http://www.rottunrecordings.com/subsonictour/
Excision robot stomped on the dance floor as he closed out the evening. Dubstep is the expression of music in its lowest registers, wobbling bass lines mixed with anything and everything. In Excision’s case the whir and stomps of the future’s death machines create an ominous backdrop of creeping darkness.
Crushing through midnight into the early morning, Excision did not disappoint the hundreds that had waited all evening. The crowd had grown if anything and a nearly full house pressed toward the stage, glow sticks glimmering in the rotating lights. Excision’s creative mixes enhanced his own creations, bass wobbling through the slanted floor as it worked toward the back of the room.
Rottun Records did not disappoint. Dubstep is quickly gaining national prominence in the electronic scene and the Canadians helped fertilize a growing scene in Central New York on a cold February night. Their return will be looked for along with the ever expanding slate of DJs and performers making their way through Syracuse. Packed venues and good crowds will hopefully continue attracting the best talent to spend a night upstate. Come back soon gentlemen.