My inaugural visit to LA’s famed El Rey Theatre couldn’t have been more badass. My ears are still ringing, my throat’s still dry, and phantom bass continues to rattle my rib cage. “What creaky old big-haired throwback band did she embarrass herself in front of this time?” wonders the astute reader. Well, eat shit, buddy: I hit El Rey to see German electronic producer and DJ Boys Noize, also known as the half of Dog Blood that isn’t Skrillex, also known as definitely not a sixty-year-old man. You know what that means — I’m finally getting hip with the kids, or possibly having a midlife crisis. Either way, the music’s been blowing my mind apart.
El Rey’s as cool as I figured it would be, with a deep stage with plenty of room to get sweaty in front of. Getting people sweaty appears to be Boys Noize’s specialty, so that worked out well.
The guy’s given name is Alex Ridha, and if you’re not familiar, he’s one of the godfathers of modern electronic music. His original work and his remixes incorporate influences from a variety of electronic genres, most of which I didn’t know existed until recently and can even now only differentiate on the most basic of levels.
You certainly don’t need to be an expert on modern electronic music to tell when something fucking rules, though; it’s more of an intuitive thing, something you feel in your ‘nads, and I’d imagine the entire block’s ‘nads were feeling it that night.
What I like about this sort of thing — especially the more accessible sounds of acts like Boys Noize, Skrillex, Knife Party, and other prominent electronic artists — is that I’ve never had a more intense live music experience. Seems counterintuitive when “real” instruments aren’t being played, right? But what I’ve discovered is that live DJ sets are an elaborate dance between the performer and the sea of sweaty humanity at his or her feet. The good ones build and draw out the anticipation until the crowd’s beyond what they collectively think they can stand, and then the bass drops and the hook screams out and elation crashes over everyone, and then it’s time to start it all over again. It’s a thrill, and one that’s new to me. I think I like.
Boys Noize continues on to Miami before hitting some European dates, returning to the US for a stint, and then criss-crossing the globe spreading the electronic joy. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for any surprise LA dates that might spring up.