Skrillex Salutes Sundance Party Culture at Billboard's Winterfest
"Who came here to party and not watch any damn movies?"
Skrillex, manning the turntables onstage at Park City Live during the second night of Billboard's Winterfest concert series, knew the score. Sundance Film Festival, which brings tens of thousands to the sleepy ski town Park City, Utah, every year, has become just as much about club-hopping and celebrity-spotting as it has unveiling great new movies. And the hottest ticket in town on Friday, Jan. 24, wasn't movie premieres from Robert Redford or Nicole Kidman -- it was Skrillex.
The dubstep DJ-producer, real name Sonny John Moore, spanned genres and decades with his turned-up set, and kept the sold-out crowd moving throughout -- no easy feat for a club filled with sofas and heavy on bottle service and bikinied waitresses. Of course, there were plenty of glitchy basslines and crescendoing drum drops, but Skrillex artfully mixed splashes of old and new hip-hop classics in between, from Kendrick Lamar and Rae Sremmurd to Busta Rhymes and House of Pain.
He set things off with "Take U There," the debut single from Jack U, his collaboration with Diplo featuring Kiesza -- immediately dispelling rumors that Diplo, who's playing Winterfest on Sunday, Jan, 26, would be a surprise guest. Later, he dropped "Wild for the Night," his raucous track with A$AP Rocky, dashing hopes that the rapper -- who will reportedly be at the Sundance premiere of Dope, the new movie he co-stars in -- would crash his set. Instead, in typically random Sundance fashion, Jermaine Dupri and documentarian/CNN star Morgan Spurlock stood at the side of the stage watching Skrillex drop his signature bass womps.
The set featured older, dubbier Skrillex breakthroughs -- "First of the Year" (Equinox) -- and his newer, funkier material like "Ragga Bomb." Throughout, he engaged the crowd head on, leaping up to his turntables and instructing people to jump, bounce, get low, get crazy -- and calling them out when they didn't: "I see you, dude on the sofa texting," shaming one bottle-service bro into a shimmy. Well played, Skrillex.