Decibel Festival 2012: Day Two (xxxy, Cut Hands, Andy Stott)Posted by Allen Huang
From major headliners Orbital to fringe electronic act Cut Hands, Thursday’s Decibel Festival lineup shaped up to be a day of incredible diversity and difficult decisions. After the warm-up that was Wednesday night, Thursday featured the many faces of Decibel, pushing both vibes and emotions to extremes.
Extreme Pre-party: Internet-party sensation The Boiler Room provided the first bang of the night with their well-attended, well-positioned, well-stocked loft party. Decibel’s VIPs (and people alert enough to reply to emails) flashed smiles for the web-camera as DJs like Pezzner and xxxy spun party-friendly sets. The posh, workspace/eventspace loft, the moon rising over the gorgeous late-summer sunset, and the faint sound of bike polo being played below felt like quintessential Decibel magic. [I got to live my life-long dream of being that d-bag texting on the boilerroom.tv feed, so I thank you, Decibel, for that.]
Quote of the show: “xxxy took me to my happy place.”
Extreme EDM: I stopped in at Barboza again to check out the always-solid offerings from Portland’s Dropping Gems collective. But the main attraction was the Jet Jam Party happening upstairs. Not the actual show (I wasn’t able to get inside), but more so the all-ages crowd that was not sorry at all for party rocking. Neon sweatbands, freshly pressed Skrillex shirts, swoopy haircuts, and soccer mom vans were the scene outside of Neumos.
Quote of the show: “I walked in and they were playing a slowed down version of ‘Genie in a Bottle’. Every white male from ages 20 – 22 knew the lyrics and was singing passionately. It was borderline psychotic.”
Extreme Goth Basement: The Modern Love Showcase was highlighted, circled, then highlighted again on my schedule. I expected brutal, droning, intense, subversive rhythms. And I got it! Cut Hands’ three-dimensional tribal rhythms translated well in the dark basement venue. Coupled with the brutal, broken imagery displayed on the screen behind freak-out artist William Bennett, I swear I saw the devil himself at times during the set.
Demdike Stare’s set was not much different than their live film score, using satanic, psychedelic imagery to accent the horrific drone of their sampled tones. The humongous, three-screen visual wall pulsed in geometric synchronicity, which only added to the sinister ambiance.
Main attraction Andy Stott was on the top of many attendees’ Most Anticipated lists, and did not disappoint. A single, pulsating heartbeat of a bass drum churned during Stott’s set, the only solid foothold to cling to as vocal wisps and sharp pangs of treble flitted in the empty space. Again, the uncompromising visuals only added to the ritualistic ambiance of this sonic seance.
Quote of the show: “I don’t think I like Techno” – young woman whose first Decibel experience might have been Cut Hands.
Extremely tired walk back home: Holy crap, it’s only Thursday. Lots of people stumbling home from the Paramount, some more surly than others.
Quote of the show: “oh, you mean Bore-bital?”