Philly Gets Stupid to Excision, ill.Gates, and Dirty Phonics
The shows that keep coming to Philadelphia just keep getting better. Week after week, I am totally blown away by the life I am so blessed to lead.
My night started out dashing to the Electric Factory, one of Philly’s hottest venues, and undeniably the city’s most recognizable. I was barely within a block from the establishment when I felt the earth below me quake like the Kraken had just been awakened from a long slumber. As I approached I was quite convinced that the Electric Factory is indeed going to collapse tonight. I swear I could see the building shaking, or maybe it was the Bassnectar track ill-Gates was dropping inside that temporarily confused my senses. Regardless, I rushed inside to get as close as possible to whatever was emanating those low frequencies.
I walked in and got situated minutes after ill.Gates started his set. The upstairs of the Electric Factory was a ghost town seeing as to how everyone in the place was on the dance floor already working up a sweat. I quickly changed lenses and hurried down below to get some pictures. Swiftly, I navigated the dance floor as if I were elegantly leading a partner in a slow dance. I breached the security guard at his post to get a closer vantage point to take some photos.
Whilst tweaking my settings, I noticed how there seemed to be a lot of people already present for ill.Gates’ opening set. It was in this moment that time slowed down and all sound now became a distant echo in my head; all I could hear was the muffled THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of bass as I looked around violently at frenzied hands, dilated pupils, and half clothed females abound. Like a surge of serotonin, I felt a warmth come over me, only this was no drug-induced blanket of happiness; this was pure overwhelming joy only achievable by sharing the anticipation of something great with a room full of like-minded new and old friends.
If you never have seen ill.Gates before, I am not sure how you could miss him. Even in a setting like a music venue where it’s common to run into the likes of Where’s Waldo, a unicorn, or even a scantily clad Native American, ill.Gates sticks out. At first glance he looks like a combination of Jonathan Davis, Korn’s lead singer, and a character from the Super Mario Bros. movie from the early ’90s with that haircut. If you allowed ill.Gates’ over-the-top appearance to get in the way of your night, I feel extremely sorry for you. You would have missed out on the best opening set I have seen in a long time! Gates is no newcomer. In fact, Gates has a hardcore following of artists and producers who look to him for his advanced live performance techniques, tutorials, ableton templates, and general music production advice. In a musical landscape where some artists simply come to a town and perform a show, ill.Gates rises above by helping to breed and inform new talent, and like your best teacher, he gives you all the tools you need to be better in this ever-evolving musical tsunami that we call EDM.
Dirty Phonics was next up. A French electronic music act who are no strangers to Philly came out in full force. The moment they stepped on stage, the intensity that ill.Gates left behind was only amplified that much more by their merging of bass music, dubstep, drum and bass and electro influences. If ill.Gates lacked anything in the crowd interaction department, Dirty Phonics simply took the torch and ran with it. At one point in their set, both members stage dived, and the entire venue erupted into a volcanic display of hands, smiles, and screams as everyone tried to help the French duo float graciously across the crowds’ heads.
The intensity in the factory was at an all time high! The entire room was pitch black. I was upstairs hanging out with one of the best groups of close friends one could ask for while holding down a private 21+ cabana. There is a certain energy that was pulsing through me, and I couldn’t tell if it was because of the company that I was with or if it was because every cell of every person’s body was vibrating with anticipation of of 150,000 watts of PK sound our man of the night EXCISION was about to drop.
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of witnessing my first Excision set in Philly at this very same venue. I also had the pleasure of exposing people to that music at the time. I remember standing only a few feet to the right, in front of yet another cabana, and I looked at my then girlfriend with bugged eyes and a jaw-dropping gaze, astonished at what I just witnessed. Flash forward a year, and now I have come full circle at the very same place, witnessing my friends’ first time seeing an Excision set with that very same expression I had once held myself.
It started off with what sounded like Megatron from the Transformers being assembled, pieces of metal flying through the air, banging, crashing, and connecting, then the sound of fighter jets swarming from above – but wait, weren’t we in Philly inside a music venue? What the hell was going on? I could tell Abel the name behind the Excision brand really spent even more time and energy in making this new tour, Megawatts, better than his last. I felt like I was in the best IMAX movie theater of my life, but there was no IMAX, only this colossal 3D video projection wall, 150,000 watt stereo sound system, me, and a few thousand new friends.
It comes to no surprise that not a care was given in this atmosphere. Problems didn’t exist in this climate. Your homework, not a thing; your finals, not a thing; your boyfriend err… well that’s a story for another time…. But you get the picture. We were no longer humans once the decibels of auditory bliss emanated. We were now just atoms of energy criss-crossing this room and bouncing off each other, ready to explode like shaking a soda bottle with the cap on. Explode we did, but that moment came once Excision dropped his “Get Stupid” track. Check it out:
Stupid, squiggly, vibrating are all great words that one could use to describe what went down at Excision, but I am sure you never heard this one before; Prehistoric, although there were many surprises in store for this writer both musically, and personally, the biggest one came in the form of a 66 million year old surprise…. Oh, you would like to know just exactly what that means? Sorry, but I can’t spoil this one for you. I assure you though this secret PREDATES any experience you have had before! 🙂
Get out of your cave and go see for yourself. Excision tickets on sale now for a city near you! Get Tickets: HERE
Ill Gates: Twitter
Dirty Phonics: Twitter
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