Skrillex @ Terminal 5; New York, NY / Mothership Tour Short Film

Posted by on February 7, 2012

I was lucky enough to snag a last minute ticket to see Skrillex with Skream, Benga, KOAN Sound and TOKiMONSTA in New York this past weekend. From the insane crowd to the incredible opening acts to the absolutely mind-blowing performance that Skrillex put on for two frenzied hours, it was without a doubt one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

Before we go into that, however, check out the video above. The OWSLA team just dropped this extended behind-the-scenes look at the Mothership tour and it’s a must-watch, although it basically just serves to confirm what most of us already know: Skrillex is living the dream right now.

But back to Saturday. Keep reading for my review and some videos from the show….

Skrillex @ Terminal 5; photo courtesy of Brian C. Reilly

Ahh, Skrillex. There’s really no one quite like him. He’s quite honestly a force of nature, and it’s hard to deny that he’s onto something truly game-changing and epic. In the short span of a year and change, he has managed to tap into a vein of overwhelming collective energy, which manifests itself on a massive, palpable level whenever he gets in front of a crowd (which, of course, he does with a considerable amount of zeal). And while there are certainly good vibes to be had at most concerts and festivals, there’s something especially (and almost inexpressibly) kinetic about a Skrillex show. His effect on people is unmistakable and it’s simply impossible not to be taken over by the sheer energy in the room when you’re there in the thick of it. Terminal 5, which is quite frankly a sick venue to begin with, didn’t disappoint: Saturday night was as messy, adrenaline-pumping, and exuberant as ever.

I missed most of TOKiMONSTA’s set because we didn’t arrive until around 9, but managed to get the tail end and was impressed by what I heard. Then came KOAN Sound, in one of the quickest and most seamless DJ transitions I’ve ever seen. We were missing 1/2 of the duo but there was no shortage of energy in the room — I was especially excited to hear “Meanwhile in the Future” get played, as it’s one of my favorites. I was also really impressed to see a giant book of CDs out on the table during his set — this may be the age of the Macbook Pro, but there’s definitely a lot to be said for old school technical skill.

Skream and Benga were next, and they really do not need any introduction — the two are dubstep legends and famously great friends, and made no secret of the fact that they were ecstatic to be reunited on stage after a month apart. About halfway through their set, they flipped a switch (both literally and figuratively, in terms of the night) and caused the entire room to shake with some richter-shattering bass (which was pretty insane, given the considerable size of the labyrinthine Terminal 5). This would continue for the rest of the night. Benga crowd surfed, Skream dropped Netsky’s revved up DnB reboot of his recent single “Anticipate,” and the two closed out their absolutely massive set in typically epic fashion: “Killing in the Name Of” by Rage Against the Machine, which had everyone screaming…well, the most well known part of that song in unison for several demented minutes.

Then: Skrillex, who cuts an unmistakable silhouette and rarely stops moving on stage. Sans the incomparable Skrillex cell, he still managed to overwhelm on the sensory front with timed lights, crazy background visuals (including footage from Modern Warfare 3 during “Kill Everybody” – hilarious) and volcanic smoke eruptions. He set the tone by opening with “Breakn’ a Sweat,” which whipped everyone into an immediate frenzy, and then navigated us all through a shuddering, borderline synaesthesic set that was wonderfully heavy on dub/reggae and which hurtled at a breakneck pace between recognizable favorites and exciting new combinations. One of the best things about Skrillex’s live performances is the way he subtly weaves in little components of other songs — a few trills of “With You, Friends” here; thirty seconds of “Teach Me How to Dougie” (no lie) there — and there’s likewise no denying that he knows precisely how to wind the crowd up and down by careening from extreme to extreme. He set the familiar “Promises” vocals off against some lush, dissonant chords — something I’ve never heard him do before — shortly before mashing Sub Focus’s remix of “Hold On” with DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (which he has done before, but which is still really epic).

In all, a phenomenal and unforgettable night. If you haven’t seen Skrillex live before I highly recommend that you do so, but in the mean time check out the videos below (tried to find the highest quality ones, but as always — forgive the sound and vid quality).

**And don’t forget that the Grammys are this Sunday (2/12) and Skrillex is up for a rather staggering five awards. I’ll definitely be tuning in (for the first time since approximately 2004, when there was probably a crucial Britney Spears-circa-Toxic performance on the books…serious business.)

Breakn’ a Sweat

Devil’s Den

Rock N’ Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain)

Levels (Skrillex Remix)

All I Ask of You

Kill Everybody

Rude Boy Bass

Promises (Skrillex Remix)

Promises/My Name Is Skrillex



Cinema/First of the Year — Finale