This week Skrillex performed a historic six nights in a row at different venues across Los Angeles, dubbed “The LA Invasion Tour.” Wednesday night’s show was at the Echoplex, and the set was billed as Skrillex vs. 12th Planet. In actuality the set was Skrillex, 12th Planet, and Caspa mixing together LIVE for the first time ever. Skrillex referred to the trio as the “Ménage a Trois Part One.” If anyone has ever wondered what Skrillex’s tracks would sound like if they’d been rubbed down with UK style dub, this was it. Read why after the jump!
Los Angeles was seriously taken back when Deadmau5 played three nights in a row last August. Skrillex just played 6. The clear winners were his fans; By doing multiple shows, more people got to see Skrillex than if he were to have only played one, and they got to do it at their choice of venues and price. By playing six shows at different prices, Skrillex was able to prevent all of the tickets from selling out immediately, while still giving fans the chance to see him for $30. For us, picking the most desirable night of the tour was a non-issue. The second we saw that Skrillex’s set at the Echoplex was versus 12th Planet, we knew we had to attend. On top of that, the venue being the smallest made the experience that much more intimate.
We’ve seen Skrillex a few times before, and his sets differ based upon where he is playing. For example, his performance after Bassnectar at Fuzzy Festival back in 2010 was much heavier than his set at Austin City Limits (where he was followed by Cee Lo Green, TV On The Radio, and Stevie Wonder). Regardless of who he is playing for, Sonny knows how to play his music exactly the way they want to hear it.
He also knew that his Los Angeles fans who chose the show with 12th Planet wanted heavy dubstep, and there is no a better way to deliver that than to bring Caspa along to outline everything with grungy basslines.
The Echoplex is an interesting venue. It is a large basement bar with a stage underneath another bar called the Echo. The room is about the size of a one basketball court gym if the ceiling dropped to only 9 feet on the back two thirds of the room. The front of room by the stage has a high ceiling and serves at as the main dance floor while the back of the room has couches lining the walls and tables wrapping around the pillars. Even at capacity the view from the back of the crowd was intimately close to the talent.
We can’t get over Diplo playing as an opening act at a basement bar. His set got the crowd going and almost distracted us from the chatter spreading around the room about Skrillex tweeting “LA takeover day two at Check Yo Ponytail w @diplo… then myself, @12thplanet and 2caspadubstep are doing a back to back to BACK set #History.” Early in his set, the crowed really reacted to a remix of Kanye and Jay Z’s “That Shit Cray.” Diplo responded with a rap intensive set mixed with moombahton and Major Lazer tracks. He had the kids grinding and “dougieing” to Lil Wayne, Kanye, and the Cataracts. Diplo always cuts to the next track at the most interesting times.
We were thinking it was a waste to have Diplo only spin for one hour while Zedd stood there doing nothing when Skrillex, 12th, Caspa, Ellie Goulding and Dillon Francis came out yelling and the crowd started screaming. Sonny told the crowd that Caspa would be joining him for something they had never done before: A three way set with 12th Planet.
While the crowd was still screaming in excitement about the trio, Skrillex put on a Dillon Francis song. This caused Francis to run and jump on stage, somehow accidently shutting off power to the rig as he did so. The 24-year old sheepishly grabbed the mic to explain, “Skrillex, you are not worthy of playing my songs.” Sonny hugged him and responded by leading the crowd in a resounding “1,2,3, FUCK YOU DILLON.” The music didn’t stop again for almost two hours.
The three dubstep kings had no defined rotation, and they tried every permutation of division of labor possible. Sometimes, Skrillex and 12th would swap off remixing the same tune while Caspa handled the basslines. Occasionally, all three would combine forces. Whenever two of them were spinning, the third would often be leaning in, itching for his turn. It was truly amazing to see Skrillex’s interest in what Caspa was doing and to see 12th try and squeeze between them to see the other’s hands on the decks. This stands in contrast with when Caspa spins with Magnetic Man. Caspa, Benga, and Skream almost never move during a Magnetic Man set because each of them are busy mixing their predetermined portion of the songs. Multiple tracks were remixed live, such as “Levels” and “Cinema.” Pieces of each track were sampled and combined in various ways, giving the audience a truly unique show. Wednesday nights set was not planned out at all, as 12th Planet explains it “[Skrillex and I] can pretty much connect by E.S.P. during our sets.” A critic would point out that there would clearly be errors, missed transitions, and missed songs resulting from such an unplanned set. But even mentioning these errors feels wrong when compared to the larger point that the three artists came together to create something greater than the sum of their parts, the very definition of synergy.
Early in the set Skrillex played “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.” 12th filled the song with an array of beeps and boops, reminiscent of an angry R2-D2. A few moments later, we were deeply submerged in a multi-track drop as we heard the popular words “you blocked me on Facebook, and now you’re going to die” uttered over the speakers.
The trio followed Diplo’s lead of playing rap when they dropped Rick Ross’ “Blowing Money Fast” about half an hour into the set. We were immediately informed about how much better it sounded than a live Rick Ross performance when Sonny slowly faded in the lyrics to “In For The Kill.” Caspa immediately knew which bassline he wanted to add to the track. The crowd exploded again, fists could be seen hitting the ceiling in the back. 12th wanted to contribute too, as he came in with an intense array of phaser sounds. 12th and Caspa made the room sound like they were destroying Alderan with lasers while Skrillex played over the Death Star’s PA system. Sonny took a step back to check out the crowd and appreciate the additions his buddies were making to the song.
During Skrillex’s “Hey Sexy Lady” the front of the crowd got a little too rowdy. Skrillex took to the mic to say “don’t fight bro come on now, honestly” and then sang “no more fighting, this is a love song… who’s coming here to make love? … I don’t want you to fight with you brah, your night will be sucky. Coming home with a black eye and your girlfriend will be like bitch why are you trying to fight during Skrillex and 12th Planet?” They then played the beautiful Sub Focus tune “Falling Down” (feat. Kenzie May) while Ellie danced behind them in excitement (same thing happened when “Summit” came on).
Towards the end Caspa played several of his own songs, including his epic “I Remember” remix. He played “Back In The Days” and a few others before Skrillex and 12th took over to play “Needed Change,” one of their first released collaborations.
Other notable tracks played:
12th Planet’s Entire new EP “The End Is Near”
Pendulum – Salt In The Wounds
Skrillex – Kyoto
Example – Midnight Run (Flux Pavillion Remix)
Rusko feat. Amber Coffman – Hold On (Sub Focus Remix) vs. “All I Do Is Win”
Rusko – Everyday (Original Mix) + (Netsky Remix)
Sebastian feat. Mayer Hawthorne – Love in Motion (Skrillex Remix)
Little Jinder – Youth Blood (12th Planet and Flinch Remix)
The last song of the night was a live remixed version (as we mentioned earlier) of Skrillex and Benny Benassi’s “Cinema.” As soon as the song started, 12th Planet grabbed the mic and yelled “Sing it, Sing it.” Caspa immediately leaned over to the mixer and used the filter to cut the highs, allowing the crowd to be heard even louder. As the song progressed, Sonny told the crowd to put up their lighters and cell phones. The drop came in a few seconds later, and was rewound back a few times, something Caspa says is called a “pullup” in London. Watch the video. (It is not ours)