On the morning of Friday March, 24th in Houston, TX….
At the gym, about to complete my last set. I feel the pump through my veins as I blast super heavy dubstep through my headphones. I casually headbang in between workouts…oh you know, just warming up for tonight. It’s my off day but I’ve been up….actually I couldn’t sleep. I don’t think anyone could knowing today was a special occasion. It’s the day we have all been waiting for (I personally purchased tickets back in October of 2016). Gotta make sure everything goes as planned this evening. But hold up, I tune everything out as Virus by Excision is about to drop. ‘Bout to kill this last set and get the day started. It’s rave day.
I’ve been thinking all week about tonight’s show. Revention Music Center (formerly known as the Verizon Theater and Bayou Event Hall) is in the heart of Houston’s theater district. In recent years, it has played host to huge performances from the biggest artists in the world. This 130,000 square foot facility is known for its massive theatrical productions and with a capacity of over 3,500, it is the perfect venue for an event of this caliber. The Paradox Tour Ft. Excision, Cookie Monsta, Barely Alive, and Dion Timmer, killer line-up! Did I mention the tour boasted a custom production and over 150 THOUSAND watts of sound?! I don’t think people realize how much work has to be done in order to set up something of that nature. Of course there is an ample amount of lighting, dozens of special effects, the huge video display (Excision shows are known for vibrant, elaborate visual storytelling for the audience), …and not to mention the theatrical design, rigging, staging, and custom fabrication that goes into setting up the stage itself. One could only image how hectic this can get when it must happen every night of the tour across multiple cities in the country. Props to the stage crew!Random thought: Let me check the Facebook event page real quick….still no set times. The anticipation is killing me! Although, I am so glad Live Nation changed the original 12 o’clock curfew to 1:30 am. Now we’re talking.
Next on the to do list: Grab our custom shirts. Courtesy of my boy JC with @We Rave Hard! Can’t go to a rave without expressing ourselves through our attire. Its part of the culture! Shoutout to my girl and RageMate, always looking majestic! CHECK ✓
This entire week has been dedicated to listening to nothing but the artists that were performing at the show. After communicating with friends all day about carpooling options, arrival times, and meets ups during the show….My Facebook feed has been filled with nothing but YouTube videos of previous shows, clips of wild crowds during dirty drops, and group headbanging sessions on Snapchat. You can’t help but appreciate the wicked mix of drum and bass, the aggressive energy of heavy metal, and the trap vibes of hiphop. We are on the way to see one of the biggest names in dubstep…. 6 months in the making…. The car ride is when it hit us….as the Shambhala 2015 mix is playing on full blast. Just Parked. Don’ forget to grab your neck brace….
We arrive as Dion Timmer has the stage. He was just doing the crowd a favor and warming everyone’s necks up for the catastrophic sound waves that were awaiting us in a short while. Most people don’t know how young he is, freaking 17. His Dutch roots and collaboration with the big man himself (Excision) has grown him a loyal following in the Netherlands….and around the world. He’s plays a few tracks off his Plug Me In EP. The crowd especially approves when he plays Rip The Roof Down ft. Mayor Apeshit. Those trap vibes everyone loves. Followed by an alternative drop to the track named Plug Me In. That’s what I’m talking about!! Perfect way to start the night. Barely Alive is next. The EDM duo from Massachusetts are known for their remixes of heavy hitters such as Datsik, Zomboy, Herobust, even Getter. They have worked with some of the biggest record labels in the industry including Dirty Duck Audio, Disciple Recordings, Firepower Records, and even OWSLA. With millions of plays on their tracks, they have held number multiple top spots on Beatport, one of the premium music discovery tools for electronic music. Anyway back to the show. I only see one of them on stage, helmet and everything. He picks up right where Timmer had stopped. The venue is starting to fill up. This is only the second time we have been to this venue so we decided to check it out. Wayyy bigger than what we’re used to. We stop to greet several friends who we havent seen in a while. Run into a few familiar faces. The usual rave sequence. I notice that the wall behind the DJ, is covered with a black tarp (we’ll get to that later…) I tune back in as I hear the Barely Alive Remix of Snails & Pegboard Nerds’ Deep in the Night, one of their most popular remixes. The crowd gets super loud when they drop one of the tracks that made them popular; Rifle, Kiss Blow. The Jamaican feel and the fast paced drop had the crowd jumping! There was also a moment when everyone was singing along to Sell Your Soul, a lighter track featuring Jeff Sontag. They take their famous helmet off and thank the crowd! Great show. It’s almost time for the final act. There’s one more artist left….Barely Alive hands the stage off to the one and only Cookie Monsta.
Right off the bat, the dirty dubstep producer plays bangers after bangers. Tim Cook aka Cookie Monsta accredits a lot of his influence from fellow producer Rusko, an OG in the game. With the help of fellow legend, Flux Pavillion, his Riot EP took him to the next level in 2012. Since then he has toured packing venues with his grimey bass and dirtiest of drops. He plays his original tracks Forever which has been featured on TrapCity. And I literally had to cut someone off (while they were trying to say hi) when Soundboy came on. Dude, go check out that drop. Now. Do It…..Alright you’re back. Well, the crowd is warmed up now. The venue is packed from the front to the back. Cookie Monsta stops the music to say a few words, shouts out Flux and….gives the crowd what they wanna hear crowd. Everyone immerses as one of his and Flux’s most famous track plays. Come Find Me. At this point, the crowd is raging. Lasers everywhere (his lighting crew killed it). Total madness.
We head to the bar area, that’s when I notice the crowd. Most of them have their Excision gear on or the merch of similar artists. Everyone is hyped! Good vibes all around! You can tell people have been waiting forever for this particular show. We get what we need and we make our way back. We pick up our headbanger buddies along the way and head to the front and center. No other way to witness an Excision show. We get to where we want to be with our squad by our side. Shoutout to the squad, you know who you are! We arrive right as Cookie Monsta is closing out. It’s time. You hear crowd cheer as they realize that the moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us. You hear the build up….an extended one. Gotta keep the crowd on its feet a few more seconds. Just a few more…
NOW LET ME SEE YOU THROW YOUR X UP!!! The tarp used to cover the rear wall drops. No one expected what they saw next. HOLY. SHIT. That stage set up literally blew my mind. You can see the entire crowds face light up as the huge visual display lit up the entire facility. I couldn’t describe it even if I tried. Everyone in that sea of people had an X in the air….I’m telling you. Every. Single. Body. It was mesmerizing. The rail was absolutely nuts. Only the most dedicated Excision fans had made it up there and could stay long enough to survive. The crowd seemed to headbang in unison.
For those that have never heard of Excision, Go listen to X Rated, Codename X, and his latest project, The Virus. You’re welcome. Not to mention his Shambhala mixes every single year. He plays the originals Bring The Madness followed by Robo Kitty. Accompanied by the some of the trippiest visuals I’ve ever seen (After 30+ festivals and 300+ shows across the U.S., I’ve seen a hell of a lot). The famous Robo Kitty display is especially amazing. Those that have seen it live, understand! The crowd abides when Jeff Abel asks everyone to make some noise. He drops one of my favorites, Swagga….and I have no choice but to headbang the entire riff. I have to stop to re-tie my bandana since it’s drenched in sweat, my hair is wet, and I’m 6 water bottles in. Just like I imagine. I hear Neckbrace, Rave Thing, X Rated, Final Boss, being mixed between other heavy tracks and headbanging tunes. At one point, I have to steer clear (can’t have my lady getting hurt) for one of the biggest moshpits I’ve ever seen. And of course the track that plays is THROWIN’ ELBOWS.
The next few songs, my friends and I were formed a headbang circle and raged nonstop. Up until when Excision yelled, “Last song Houston.” Everyone turned there attention to the front. One more before it was all over. We were ready…..after much anticipation, he ends with Codename X. One of my favorite drops of all time.The venue erupts. Smoke goes off. The background is absolutely insane. I take it all in..
I’m a m*****f****** HEADBANGER. To be honest, I think I got short term memory loss with all the headbanging. My neck hurt for the next 3 days. Hmm, maybe I should’ve brought a neck brace?