Skrillex at the WeSC Concept Store was happy to meet and greet his many fans before they were blindfoled, loaded onto a bus and driven to an unknown location. (Photo: Andy Gensler)
NEW YORK -- Being blindfolded and thrown onto a bus to catch the latest electronic dance music sensation might seem like something of a fool's mission. Indeed, the invitation to last night's (Feb. 2) "Exclusive Private Event" with a five-time Grammy nominated DJ instructed invitees to go to the WeSC Concept Store at 10:00 p.m. and prepare to be "Blindfolded and Driven to A Secret Location. The evening's mysteries caused one nervous attendee to surmise "we're all going to Connecticut." Lucky for all, then, the big surprise turned out to be a relatively intimate and nearby Skrillex show.
"We wanted to do something unique and special for his fans and friends," explained Skrillex's booking agent, Lee Anderson of AM Only. Anderson and Skrillex's team spent the last few days giving passes out to Skrillex's superfans -- those in the front row who attended the first two shows of the DJ's four NYC gigs.
Skrillex's dramatic WeSC entrance, with entourage and mini-paparazzi in tow, was rather surprising: here the young DJ with the angular haircut was relaxed, jovial and gregarious seemingly shaking hands with or hugging every person in the room.
Team Skrillex (from left): Skrillex's booking agent Lee Anderson of AM Only; Tim Smith, Manger, Blood Company; Paul Morris, founder of AM Only; and Alan Gary, agent, AM Only. (Photo: Andy Gensler)
Situated in the store's back were team Skrillex, which included Skrillex's manger Tim Smith of the Blood Company, his publicist Clayton Blaha of Biz 3 and AM Only founder Paul Morris, a veteran of the dance music world whose firm reps some of the biggest contemporary EDM artists including Tiesto, David Guetta and Porter Robinson. Smith, a native of the U.K. and long-time New Yorker, mentioned an upcoming trip back to his homeland this summer to attend the 50th birthday of client DJ Carl Cox.
The five-minute bus ride to the secret venue turned out to be W.I.P. located along the western edge of SoHo complete with fire eaters, interactive sculptures and a live graffitti artist. Here too was Warner Music Group Chairman/CEO of Recorded Music, Lyor Cohen, whose Big Beat/Atlantic Records signed Skrillex, bumping and grinding with fashion designer Tory Burch . Also Biz 3 owner Kathryn Frazier and Gary Salzman of Big Management, who said about the current dance music explosion, "I had my best year since the Todd Terry era last year."
But for all the hype and controversy surrounding the young DJ, Skrillex is a solid selector who kept the dance floor packed and moving until well past 4 a.m. with a none-too-subtle set of bombastic bass and block rocking beats. There were distinct nods to techno, dubstep, hip-hop, R&B, drum'n'bass and even Michael Jackson.
And the club, filled with model-types, mussy-haired indie boys, candy ravers, music biz, and neck-craning journalists, felt like nothing so much as a Chemical Brothers or Fatboy Slim show circa 1998. Which then, much as now, is really not a bad place to be.
Skrillex rocking the 1's and 2's and perhaps Serato. (Photo: Andy Gensler)
Dressed For Success: a Skrillex uber-fan at WeSC Concept Store in Manhattan. (Photo: Andy Gensler)
Taking pictures blindfolded on a bus: Not recommended.(Photo: Andy Gensler)
DJs Annalog (left) and Furoche who rocked the WeSC concept store with all manners of "bass music." (Photo: Andy Gensler)
Additional reporting by Kerri Mason.