On Halloween, I arrived in Downtown Peoria about half hour before my first dj concert. It was odd to see such a large town so empty at 6 pm on a Monday. No eateries opened except bars. Peoria is really dead at times. Fortunately it made the walk to the Civic Center a breeze.
Upon entering the arena, a woman in the security line yell out “No glow-sticks.” Seriously? Later I passed a stand near the entrance to purchase them (ah…monopolies.) However, for many in the security line, it didn’t seem to matter. They had other ways to amuse themselves such as lighted hula-hoops and glowing juggling balls.
While standing in the line to get patted down, I immediately noticed two things. The first was that I was a decade older than the average concert goer.
The next was that I was too plainly dressed. About half of the people where in costume. There was a wide gamut. Some looked like they used their girlfriend eyeliner and drew some odd patterns over their face. Others had clothing that might have been illegal in some southern jurisdictions. Still others had costumes so well made few that they would have been right at home at ComicCon.
Picture of a typical party goer.
Overall, security was intense. I think I had to go through more security here than when I last flew. Of course, it was just for show. During the concert an hour or so later a couple in front where happily smoking a metal bowl. Yea security theater.
(DJ Spinn & Taso) from Teklife opened the venue. Their music was a mix of hip-hop and electronica, which the duo played rather conservatively. The vanilla beats wouldn’t win any awards for being novel, but I generally enjoyed their show.
One odd thing about the set was that about a half dozen or so people would come out in front of the stage and dance. Well dance is a bit of a strong word for it. More like hop around out of step with the music. It made the whole thing seem like a high school talent contest.
At this point I initially thought that the concert would only be sparsely attended, with the floor only about half full at this point.
As to was general admission, the taught was to stay away from the hard core revealers and get a good spot in the second bowl section. Not that I wouldn’t mind getting closer for the rest of the show, but there is a tendency at this type of concert to both get hot and and have a drunk spill beer on you.
At first this dude came up and started jamming on his laptop with no introduction. I didn’t even know who he was until I Googled it out the next day. The artist, G Jones, had a much more technical trance and beat set. While he was good at the art, he couldn’t get the crowd into what he played. There was too much futzing around with the music every 10-20 seconds or so. He would get a good grove going and the switch the beat. You could see the crowd having a hard time adjusting with it as they would start to sway and then bam, a different tempo.
It must have not matter to the musician though. He was quite animated throughout the set dancing and rocking out to his own music. The set reminded me of someone singing in the shower. Personally, it was OK with the tunes played. There were some great rifts here and there but I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to his stuff.
At the end of his set, the audience grew rapidly, with a full floor and the bowl about half filled. Soon my seat 2/3rds of the way up was in the middle of the crowd.
I stumbled on Bassnectar while listening to dubstep radio stations on Spotify a few years back. After listing to his catalog, I purchased the excellent album Vava Voom. I like his earlier stuff more than what he produces now as it is a bit more trance and less bouncing rhythms.
However, the opening was nothing I’ve seen in years. The show started with such a wave of sonic intensity that it rivaled hard rock acts like Pantera and industrial icon Ministry. It was LOUD with the bass to intense that you could feel it in your teeth.
With this the crowd went wild. Even siting high up, there were people were dancing everywhere, in their seats, along the pathways, and in the stairwells. It was like a ground well of humanity as thousands of attendees partying wildly. Simply amazing.
The banning of glow sticks was of little consequence now. Their pale glow was only visible through the fog and light show within a few paces. Many concert goers had LED lighting attached to their clothing. I have seen lighted clothing at conventions, but never figured they would be interesting to wear until now.
On the floor, there was a person decked out as jellyfish with the tendrils encased in moving led lights. A young lady sitting to my left was dressed up as an anime magic girl. Her attire and wand had various light sewn in that sparkled. Here and their people played with all sorts of glowing objects from balloons to flash settings on their phones.
There were slow spots to give the crowd a rest, but the music never really stopped. Instead of a traditional set in a song-stop-banter-song rhythm that traditional artists employ, songs flowed into one another. Actually, it was clips of songs that transitioned and sometimes an earlier song would make a return. I got to sample from all of his ten albums along with one of the two I came to hear Ping Pong. The other called Pennywise Tribute was skipped for other remixes.
It was later in the show when Bassnectar started playing remixes of other artists. Snoop Dog and White Zombie featured strongly while I got to hear the hardest version of Frank Sinatra ever.
Overall, the convert experience was above average. The venue has decent acoustics and its shape fit rather well to the light show. It will likely be my first and last dj concert, and I think of few better ways to spend Hallo’s Eve than rocking out in great band.