Coachella 2014: Skrillex Takes Control of the Cockpit During Stellar Set

Skrillex, Coachella 2014

Skrillex performs onstage during day 2 of the 2014 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2014 in Indio, California

When Daft Punk played Coachella in 2006 with their now-legendary, sensory-overloading pyramid-light show, they laid down the gauntlet for every major electronic act thereafter. So impressive was their set, it encouraged other EDM artists to go all-out with their production. Add Skrillex to the list of those who have lived up to the challenge: his no-prisoners Coachella set was loud, raw and utterly entertaining, thanks to his non-stop energy and the launch of a major set-piece that was completely jaw-dropping.


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Skrillex’s prop of choice was a gigantic, arena-ready fighter-jet (think of an X-wing from "Star Wars"). The set-piece was larger than the ones he has played in over previous years and was abetted with an ever-increasing amount of lasers that blasted out above the packed crowd, wings that moved, and billowing smoke machines that gave the producer (real name: Sonny Moore) the appearance of flight.

Not that Skrillex needed the help finding his wings: he actually launched himself high in the air regularly, coming out of his cockpit/booth to get the crowd amped up before taking a giant leap back to his seat, landing (of course) just as the bass dropped.

It doesn’t hurt that the music Moore has far more personality than that of many of his dance-music counterparts. His signature sound –- heard on the tracks of his new album “Recess” -- is a bottom-heavy din that evolves into a four-on-the-floor big beat, but it somehow approaches genre conventions rather than embraces them. Even as Skrillex has become something of a mainstream name his sound still reeks of rawness and danger. All the better, than, for it to be juxtaposed with massive videos of throwback anime and, uh, the title screen to the ‘90s sitcom “Full House.”

All these components together meant the set -- and the spectacle – resonated loudly. It was no Daft Punk, but nothing may ever hit that peak again. At least Moore’s helming a ship that’s approaching the same orbit.