I Watched Nearly Four Hours of Brony EDM So You Won't Have to
You know how this works: a snarky writer starts off with a few high-minded paragraphs about subcultures and having an open mind and cultural anthropology. The goal is to make it seem like they started watching whatever video they're about to tear apart with the best intentions, instead of admitting that they knew good and god damn well what they were only watching it to crack a few jokes.
So let me say this from the start: I spent nearly four hours watching a Brony rave because I thought it would be funny.
Now, I'm not going to pretend that I understand the Brony subculture. I don't. At first I thought that teen and adult males watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was one of those modern irony things that I don't understand, but as far as I can tell these guys genuinely enjoy the show. And that's fine- we all have passions in life. Some people paint their faces and throw soda at each other, and some people write dubstep songs about cartoon ponies. The world is weird and beautiful like that.
Sometimes videos just pop up in your Twitter feed like a gift from the heavens, showing you something you couldn't have imagined if you tried. This is one such video.
Shot in Houston during Fiesta Equestria 2013 (a MLP convention, if you don't know), Pon3techtronica featured some of the very best in the Brony EDM scene... I think. I can't say I'm well-versed in the realm of pony-centric dance music. I had seen the highlights, but once I found out there was a complete, uncut edition of the video I had to watch it. So I did.
00:00:01 Fade in on your average hotel ballroom, sparsely filled. People start to enter, but it's not entirely unlike the middle school dances of your youth were everyone starts the night off standing around not sure what to do.
00:01:00 So in the first minute we have a bunch of awkwardly dressed young people with glow sticks dancing to "Levels." Not entirely unlike an average night at Stereo Live, just with more clothing.
00:02:50 Our MC for the evening welcomes everyone to the show with a hearty "What's up everypony?" and suddenly I'm very upset with the life decisions I've made that have led to this point.
00:04:30 DJ Tetsuo is first up, and is currently wearing a giant Lego head. I have no idea if this is a regular thing for him for him or not. It could go either way I imagine. Judging by the amount of awkward hopping in one place and fist pumping the crowd approves of this choice of headgear.
00:06:15 Tetsuo (no longer wearing a Lego head) hits the corniest of all DJ moves: the Jesus Christ pose. That and wearing sunglasses indoors is how you know he's a DJ.
00:07:45 You know what this party was missing? Furries. Glad they solved that one.
00:09:35 I'm not sure there's a name for the dance that Tetsuo breaks out at this point, but we're going to call it the "Springing Pogo Fish," because that's what it looks like.
00:15:00 So far I haven't learned a thing about the Brony music scene. Tetsuo sounds like every other DJ I ignore while reading Wikipedia before the headliner comes on.
00:17:40 Tetsuo tries to address the crowd but no one turns the mike on. That's awkward. Let the man speak.
00:18:40 It took us a while, but we get our first My Little Pony sample in a track. Or so I assume. I've never watched the show, so I'm just taking a guess here.
00:25:30 I'm sorry, but why aren't more of these people prancing?
More Brony on the next page.
00:30:05 DJ Midli is up next. He tries to show he's serious about things by dramatically unzipping his "Keep Calm and Brony On" hoodie. When the beat drops he starts stomping/dancing around, causing another DJ moving equipment behind him to fall right over. I cheered the first time I watched it, mostly because I thought he actually flat out hit the dude in his excitement.
You know the situation is serious because the guy moving equipment who didn't wipe out removes his gas mask to check on his fallen Brony brother.
00:32:15 Midli makes a good case that "overexcited Brony dance music lover" would make an awesome wrestling gimmick.
00:38:00 Rather than talk about how awful the songs being played are, I've spent the last five minutes staring at the one strobe light they have onstage. I hope they consider raising the light budget next year.
00:47:00 "Fiesta Equestria" isn't a phrase that really lends itself to call-and-response chanting, but Midli gives it his best shot.
00:53:30 In the middle of thanking the Texas crowd and inviting them back to his homeland of Canada, someone up and kills the mike on Midli. We're two-for-two on DJs not getting to speak their mind.
00:54:45 The MC lets us know that we're not even close to being done. That's not reassuring at all.
00:55:30 Oh hey, it's that guy who ate it during Midli's set, and he fancies himself a singer. And holy shit guy, it's awful. Like... just wow. That he's singing a song about a singing horse just takes it away from the land of awkward in to the realm of semi-creepy.
01:02:30 This is the second time (IN LESS THAN HOUR MIND YOU) that someone has played that "Twilightlicious" sample, which I can only assume is the "Levels" of the Brony EDM scene.
01:03:45 They literally kill the song so that Mike, one of the show's organizers, can tell people to stop throwing glow sticks. Apparently some little kids got hit, and that's a liability issue. Oh the bromanity.
01:21:00 Seventh Element, to my surprise, is not that bad. Yeah he's got awful dance moves, but so does everyone else that's been on stage and at least his music is listenable. At this point I'll take what I can get.
01:28:45 Camera guy decides that it's creepy time and zooms in on a couple of folks who are dancing with their asses to the camera. Not necessary, bro(ny). Not necessary at all.
01:32:00 Tetsuo is back on stage and now he's wearing two pairs of glasses. Coolest dude in the room.
01:35:00 The trend of DJs not being able to use microphones continues. This may be my favorite part of brony EDM culture.
More Brony on the next page.
01:38:00 The new DJ, whose name I don't know how to spell, wants the crowd to go ham. In this case, "going ham" means jumping up and down while holding MLP dolls. Imagine Kayne and Jay Z doing that. It's fun. I miss Seventh Element already.
01:40:30 I start to type "Bronys really like to fist-bump," only to realize they probably call it "hoof-bump." But you know what, I'm not going to look it up to see if I'm wrong. In this instance I'm willing to be an ignorant outsider.
01:43:05 They do that thing where the crowd gets down real low and then jumps up, only the DJ doesn't know what he's doing and everyone jumps up at the wrong time and what might have been cool just ends up being like everything else so far: painfully awkward.
01:54:30 [Imagine a long, sad sigh here.] So... Ibeabronyrapper takes the stage and...
I'm sorry. I get it... this is all supposed to be fun and everyone is out to have a good time, but...
Ibeabronyrapper. That's it. That's what he's called. I'm dumbstruck.
01:55:20 IBABR tries to set up the kids for "the drop" but fails to understand how dance music works and tries to get the crowd moving before the song actually drops, and by the time I'm typing this he's rapping over a track that has vocals on it and it's everything I hate about music. "Don't y'all die on me now," he tells the crowd. I'm already dead inside.
01:59:00 There are two guys up at the front clearly having the best night of their lives. Good for them. I hope their grandkids eventually record their grandpa fondly recalling that one epic night they were in front of THE Ibeabronyrapper and upload it to whatever passes for Youtube in the future.. Don't let me down grandchildren.
02:05:15 Oh. My. God. We're going to get a Brony remix of Skrillex's "Bangarang." This is someone's idea of hell. Someone will die, wake up in the afterlife, and this is what they will hear. And in this moment... I feel bad for them. I mean, I'm sure they deserve it, but does anyone REALLY deserve this?
02:13:00 Skyline, he a man with a seven-string guitar, actually gets a crowd chant. He then begins what I assume everyone thinks is a pretty bitching guitar solo, but is actually kind of awful. I think this is how normal people feel listening to Rush or Dream Theater.
02:21:00 Now he's just playing fast shit that has nothing to do with the song that's playing. I bet the guys at Guitar Center HATE when Skyline comes in.
02:28:00 In summation: Skyline can make notes come out of his instrument, but he sure as shit can't play the guitar.
More Brony on the next page.
02:34:00 I haven't said anything about Omnipony because he hasn't done anything terrible yet and I'm scared if I say anything mean they'll let Skyline back on stage.
02:41:00 A minor miracle takes place: Omnipony uses the microphone and doesn't get cut off. The streak is over.
02:43:15 Mike the Microphone, he of "don't throw glow sticks" fame, is back. He starts off with his set about Pokemon set to Ludacris's "Roll Out." He's also saying the word damn a lot, which can't be good for those 8-year-olds who were getting hit with glow sticks earlier.
02:53:00 I've always been fascinated by the idea that there are scenes with songs that are uber-popular that I'd likely never discover except through pure accident. Whatever Mike is rapping right now has the crowd going nuts. They're even rapping along. It's... adorable?
03:02:25 Before the next DJ starts his set he asks the crowd to pledge allegiance to music. It's a clunky pledge, but the message is solid. I promise not to make fun of him for at least 30 seconds.
03:05:25 "I'm gonna put my hooves up high, don't worry about tomorrow because I'm here tonight." This is their time. This is their moment. God bless America.
03:10:30 Silva Hound, the pledge loving DJ currently on stage, I can at least respect because he's the first person to really come off as a real DJ, at least in the EDM sense of the word. With the right song and the full backing of Bronies worldwide I bet he could get a song on top of Beatport. (Can we please make that happen?)
03:12:15 To explain the talent gap here, I'll just say that Silva Hound is Kendrick Lamar and he just bodied the entire show.
More Brony on the next page.
03:21:00 The last DJ of the night, Odyssey, is a step down from Silva Hound, but at least the guy has a stage presence. An incredibly dorky stage presence, but it's more than I can say for some of the other performers tonight.
03:26:25 "I think you guys sing better than I do." They do, Odyssey. They really do.
03:36:00 Because I'm a professional, I was doing some research about Mr. Odyssey. According to his YouTube page, he was the first person to do a My Little Pony remix. So, all of this is his fault. Now we know. Now we know.
03:38:15 Things just took a turn for the death metal. That was an unexpected way to cap off the evening.
03:40:15 DJ Tetsuo has the mike again and talks about the work the Brony DJs put in to things. He closes with, "Support the underground and we will support you." Seems as good a place as any to call this live-blog done.
Yeah, there's like another six minutes left in the video, but it's all in-jokes and DJs saying "hi" and I'm not going to write about it. Deal with it.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.