Gritsy's 6th Anniversary Party feat. Digital Mystikz Warehouse Live July 14, 2012
Back in April, the Press ran a cover story about the rise of dubstep stateside, placing it next to the story of Gritsy, a local DIY promotions company that founded, and remains to run, one of the original dubstep parties in the country.
In the story, we're introduced to a number of the genre's characters, most notably Mala, a premiere European DJ often associated with the birth of the scene and described as "kind of like what Bob Dylan is to rock and roll" by Suraj Kurian, one of Gritsy's founders.
Saturday night, Mala, alongside his longtime group mate Coki (together they make Digital Mystikz), flew in to perform at Gritsy's sixth anniversary party. I went because, I mean, how many times are you going to get that opportunity? Some spark notes* from the show:
The term "spark notes" was created by a local rapper named Cuddy. Credit where it's due.
** Gritsy parties incorporate variations of a gigantic Wall of Bass, which is exactly what it sounds like (a wall of subwoofers, basically; it was created by AURA System). For this show, they set up the Super Wall of Bass, their largest, most powerful structure. You can hear that shit from Idaho.
** On account of it being their sixth anniversary, there were sixes everywhere; fliers, T-shirts, etc. The best: three large 6 mylar balloons tied to the rail between the upper section and the main floor, creating an ominous "666." Fortunately, no devil worshipping took place. Or, unless funny dancing is devil worshipping, in which case, yeah, devil worshipping like a motherfucker.
** Mala and Coki arrived to the venue just a few minutes before midnight. Let me tell you: I've covered some guys that JUST LOOKED COOL in the years that I've been here; Mala rivals them all.
You know that walk-away cock-strut that Dwyane Wade does after he makes a basket and gets fouled? Mala looks like if that was a person. If they sold Mala letterman jackets, he'd have sold 1,000 of those bitches by the time he walked from the back of the room to the front.
**A lot of dubstep's appeal is its bass drop, the moment when, after a buildup, the DJ drops a FURYHAMMER down on the room. The more excited you can get the crowd prior to that moment, the more they'll lose their shit when it finally hits.
Mala started his set with a four-minute tempting, this-low-frequency vibrating hum. By the end of the first minute, the mob had mushed in tight to the wall of speakers. By the end of the second minute, they were pulsating. By the end of the third minute, they were frothing. And by the end of the fourth minute, they were bloodthirsty, goddamn jackals, ready to explode.
When he finally let loose the SMASH, it was over. He won. He could've ended his set there and people would've been like, "OH MY GOD THAT WAS AMAZING." It was the most impressive moment of the evening.
**Several people were wearing earplugs at the show. Blech. Wearing earplugs to a Dubstep show is like wearing a condom during sex; like, sure, it's safer, but you're missing out on the best part, man. Go in there raw, yo. Champion of the universe.
** But for real, wear a condom. Always.
** Rocks Off: Music Insight and Safe Sex Advice.
**Coki proved himself to be beyond capable as well, not surprising considering Digital Mystiks is rated as one of the greatest Dubstep acts of all-time. He was a tad more experimental than Mala but never strayed too far from the Euro Dubstep template.
**Oh, probably this: When most hear the term "dubstep," they likely think about Skrillex and his whole sound, and that makes sense because that's the noise that took over in the United Staes.
But that version is an entirely American conceit, a mainstream-ready mutation of the original. The traditional version lacks all of the whips and chains and digitized fury of the new strand; it's much more meditative and, at times, slightly sexual.
If the American version makes you want to slam your head into a boulder, give this Euro strand a go.
**Really, I don't know that there will ever be a way to properly write about sound that Gritsy's Super Wall of Bass makes. It's as much a part of the show as any act, maybe more.
Everything on you vibrates: Clothes, chest cavity, Adam's apple, all of it. I could literally feel the hairs in my eyebrows moving. And I was about forty paces from the speakers. I don't imagine everyone standing near them made it out alive. 2:5 odds that somebody died that night. [Nobody died -- ed.]
**FOR REAL THERE IS NO WAY TO DESCRIBE HOW WOBBLED YOU ARE AT THE SHOW. If you try to think, your brain will go haywire. I reread some tweets I sent out that night from the show. They start out normal enough ("This Dubstep party is hitting. I'm about to robot all over these bitches."), then spiral into gibberish ("BTW, I had a uterus installed.").
Do you know how many followers you lose when you start telling people you had a uterus put in your abdomen? A lot. Gritsy's Super Wall of Bass shook loose people in cyberspace. Figure that shit out.
I don't imagine the show will be viewed as anything other than successful, and that's great because Mala and Coki and Gritsy and AURA seem interested in the same goal (promoting the music) and that doesn't happen terribly often. Follow Gritsy on Twitter. The next time they have a show, go, hang out for a few minutes. You'll be surprised.
Personal Bias: While writing the story mentioned in the opening, I listened to an untold number of hours of dubstep. A genuine appreciation was born.
The Crowd: Was mostly young and white, but not exclusively.
Overheard In the Crowd: Nothing.
Random Notebook Dump: Check this shit out: A photographer and I rode to the show together. As we were heading away from the show riding on the feeder parallel to the freeway, the car in front of us slowed. There was a bunch of debris in the road. As we got closer, we noticed that a car had been in a wreck.
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We couldn't tell what he hit (there was only one car involved and nothing in the immediate area looked damanged), but he hit the shit out of it; his car was turned sideways and the whole front end was crumpled in. There were about ten guys standing there just looking weirded out. As we passed the car, we noticed there was a guy lying on the floor. Several guys were trying to move him up on the sidewalk.
He was screaming. When he rolled over on his back he lifted up his right arm, and that thing was snapped into pieces gnarly. It was bending in all the wrong places, most egregiously at the midsection of his forearm. Fuckin' crazy. And gross.