Two blocks’ worth of raging hormones and Any Mall USA’s latest offerings lined the rainy streets around Showbox at the Market on Saturday evening. Anxious to get up close and personal with Lorde and Until the Ribbon Breaks, teens flocked to this sold-out show in droves.
The one-man show performing as Until The Ribbon Breaks set the mood with heavy, dark beats and top-notch production. His soft voice and the tempo of his songs emit the essence of a deeper version of Justin Timberlake, hold the pop and dance routines.
Before the youthful Lorde made it up on stage, high-pitched screams emanated from the floor every time a roadie moved a table or adjusted a microphone. Oh, to be young and so full of shits to give. If I didn’t already feel like I was skewing the median age at a Justin Timberlake concert, I was in Justin Bieber territory now.
Dressed in a simple white button-down shirt, Lorde attacked each of her songs to a frenzy of excitement below. Although free-spirited in her movements, she also possessed the controlled energy of a more seasoned singer. Her presence seemed practiced, but comfortable. From a head-on perspective, the bright white back lighting that shined through her long mane of curls gave her the aura of an angel.
As the show came to a close, she said it was her favorite of the tour so far. And just as Seattleites like to do, she compared her experience here to one she’d had earlier in San Francisco, saying Seattle was much better. You know what they say: Kids don’t lie.
Next, the Hush Hush showcase at the Crocodile featured four artists playing rapid-fire, half-hour sets. As the after-dinner crowd floated in, glitch-hop, trap, and booty bass slapped the walls and swung merrily from the rafters.
Formerly-local producer Domokos started things off with his own brand of slow glitch, mixing in a little drum ‘n bass and then ending his set with some light harmonizing vocals. Following him was DJAO, who supplied his own ethereal vocals. As a rare occurrence, his vocal talents far surpassed the rest of his music. As he drummed with his finger tips, the sounds of synthetic strings delicately wove through the beats like a soft rain. Employing the synthesized bravado of future music as a backdrop to his powerful voice, DJAO lit up his own bright path to tomorrow.
Kid Smpl wins the award for the slowest, most atmospheric sound, beginning with stirring violins and moving into epic soundscapes fit for a plane ride over the glaciers in the Arctic Circle. The thick vibrations of his low, booming bass lines gave the many people sitting down the best seat in the house.
The last act in the rapid-fire set the “one of those things that’s not like the others,” hitting the sedated audience with quirky house beats. Up and at em, kids: Henry Krinkle is behind the decks, mixing, matching, checking his phone a bunch of times… Wait, what? You have a 30-minute slot, dude. Facebook will still be there when you’re done.
Soon, it was time to come early and come often (figuratively… maybe) to the Cosmic Adventures showcase back at Showbox. The crowd had tastefully aged from grape juice to fine wine, and I took my place in front of the stage to drink it all in.
California’s Nick Monaco already had the dance floor moving with his fresh, rollicking style of house and hip-hop. Although still a young rising star, he received early acclaim from performers at an earlier dB festival, Soul Clap, and bits of their influence stood out in his fun, laid-back set.
Moving toward the serious side of dance was the legend from Detroit, Juan Atkins. There was no mistaking his hard-hitting, signature sound as one that could only come from a pioneer of techno. But in case some listeners weren’t familiar with his particular brand of history-making beats, the massive hoard of tech-bros behind me yelling “DEEE-TROIT” every few minutes must have surely clued them in.
Partway through Juan’s set, the Orb’s bald and bespectacled Alex Patterson puttered onto the stage. Just seeing him there, knowing what was to come, made me a little teary-eyed. Now I was the one unleashing my inner-uncontrollable-wailing-teenage-girl. Watching an innovator like Juan Atkins was a rare treat in itself, but experiencing the Orb up close was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
So happy with my steadfast roots at the edge of the stage, I could practically see my reflection in the top of Alex’s head as he launched into treasures from The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld and Orbvs Terrarvm. The dance floor surged to a special never-before and possibly never-again heard permutation of “Toxygene” and mellowing us out only slightly was Jimmy Cauty’s emphatic interpretive dance to a tweaked version of “Slvg Dvb.”
Two samples that got my attention during the set happened early on: “We’re sorry, this Bank of America ATM is out of service.” As someone with a deep, personal hatred for Bank of America, this was indeed music to my ears. Also in the periphery was a sample from the song, “Oh Shit” created by one of Alex Patterson’s pet projects Transit Kings.
And of course, the Orb delivered with an extended version of the song they’re best known for, “Little Fluffy Clouds.” It is impossible to sit still through any semblance of this anthem, which has found its way onto dance floors across the world and into living rooms through TV commercials, soundtracks, and late-night radio shows.
It all had to end somewhere, so it ended with Jimmy spreading his arms and doing the airplane for the outro, and then a recording of “Que Sera Sera” echoing through the room as the two men exited the stage. That pretty well summed up my festival experience—no control, no firm grip on the reins. I’m just a conscious sack of meat and bones moving from place to place while the earth keeps on spinning.
I could conclude there, but peer pressure sent me shivering up the hill in our early winter weather to catch an after hours set at Neumos featuring John Tejada. Having made his rounds on the techno circuit, he brought an air of experience and finesse similar to that of Juan Atkins, mixing in a little more instrumental flavor and keeping Saturday night alive a little longer. Much more was in store at this all-star line up from Kompact, but my party math was telling me I better go home and sleep before I dropped dead with delighted exhaustion.