Excision & The Paradox Rampage Through Playstation Theater [Review]
Since it was revealed last year that Excision would be retiring his famed Executioner stage, bass music fans around the world began to wait with bated breath for the impending upgrade of his newest stage production. When it comes to live shows and stage production, Excision is most definitely one of the electronic music community’s leading pioneers. Since its unveiling last year in Minneapolis, Excision’s Paradox stage has been garnering quite the reputation as it makes a triumphant debut across the country. This past weekend, it was finally the Big Apple’s turn to behold The Paradox in all its unruly splendor.
For two nights of madness, Excision held court inside Midtown Manhattan’s newly dubbed Playstation Theater. While the name of the venue might have changed, the excellent vibes and vicious sound system have remained despite the transition. Upon arrival on both nights I couldn’t help but indulge my inner gamer, and I took advantage of the several video game terminals set up throughout the Playstation Theater.
After a quick game of FIFA 16 and the unreleased Ratchet & Clank, I was greeted by the absurdity that is Bear Grillz. Clad head to toe in a cartoonish bear costume, the mysterious Bear Grillz whipped the dance floor into a frenzy. Headbangers were enthralled with Grillz’ antics as he navigated through a set of crowd favorites. Nostalgic bangers like “Chop Suey” and Skrillex’s “Cinema” remix, rattled through the speakers as the man behind the mask plucked at the audience’s heartstrings.
Next up was the infamous bass behemoth, Figure. The madman hailing from Evansville, Indiana threw down two sets worthy of the horror movie gore that he loves so much. With spine-rattling bass and vicious transitions, Figure ravaged the crowd in unrelenting fashion. Bass fiends of every ilk and denomination, satisfy their appetites with Figure’s fearsome serving of bass. My favorite moments of his sets came in the form of two diabolical and unexpected remixes of NWA’s “Cruisin In My 64” and The Weekend’s “The Hills”.
While Figure was definitely the perfect table-setter for this double helping of wildness, it was clear on both nights that the crowd was clamoring for the weekend’s main course. The venue’s lighting remained relatively subdued while Figure performed in front of a black curtain hiding the immensity of Excision’s Paradox stage.
After a short intermission, it was soon time to bear witness to one of the truly landmark moments in electronic music. Excision is the last of a dying breed. An artist who is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of live shows, and is always willing to give his fans something incredible to hold onto. Everyone inside the Playstation Theater could feel the immensity of the moment as the lights dimmed and an ominous bass growl filled the room. A checker box of red lasers illuminated the black curtain right before it fell to the ground revealing the incredible Paradox stage in all its terrible wonder.
While the opening moments of each night’s performance may have been identical, that is where the similarities ended. Both shows were unique and had their own energy. On Friday night, Excision dove right into his more recognizable tracks like the cult pheonmenon, “Robo Kitty” and the dance floor destroyer “Bring The Madness”, which he collaborated on with The Pegboard Nerds. Friday’s performance certainly started off with a bang and all night it seemed as if the crowd was playing catch up. While attempting to keep up with the full throttle feeling of the first opening salvo, Friday’s show was characterized by a breakneck pace and seemingly finished to soon for my taste. Syncopated transitions between trap and hardstyle characterized a frenetic first night full of adrenaline.
However, Saturday night lent itself to a more deliberate and sustained build. Excision sought to change the pace with heavier dubstep tunes that reminded me of his older sets. A beastly remix of Excision’s classic track with Datsik “Swagga”, had the entire crowd screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Flux Pavilion’s smash hit “International Anthem” was certainly a crowd favorite, while Excision’s spine shattering remix of Dj Fresh’s “Earthquake”, took no prisoners. With 150,000 watts of PK sound behind him, Excision took the crowd on a sensory expedition of which the likes have never been attempted let alone seen.
Massive tunes from Excision’s super group, Destroid, laid waste to what was left of the dance floor. When “Raise Your Fist” came gurgling through the speakers, an entire army of apocalyptic headbangers responded with unified admiration, fists raised proudly towards the sky. “Bounce” dropped like an atom bomb from the heavens, erupting inside the Playstation Theater with extreme prejudice. Bass drunk headbangers, stumbled and convulsed with sheer stimulation, trying to piece together what they were witnessing. Hands on my head and mouth agape, I allowed myself to be swallowed by the encapsulating torrent of alternating lights and sonic distortion.
On both night’s the music almost took a backseat for me, as the Paradox Stage was so breathtaking to behold. Excision’s flair for the dramatic was on full display as the massive wall of LED screens morphed and undulated into incredible forms. Zombie destroying machines, cinematic action scenes, and mechanized monsters came to life in the most vivid manner I’ve ever seen on a stage. The Paradox is literally a vortex into which there is no escape, no reprieve, and certainly no mercy.
With his third stage, Excision has crossed a significant threshold. The Paradox is literally the most jaw-dropping stage I have ever seen. Now that he has ascended to an even higher plane, I can’t wait to see what this showgun of bass music has in store. The Paradox tour is still in full affect and rolling through the states. Check out the remaining dates below.