Although Glastonbury types, if there is such a thing, may not be your typical Skrillex fan, Sonny Moore has made Worthy Farm something of a second home. This weekend he will apparently play a number of sets and in 2013 he performed in Arcadia. “Glastonbury festival is my favourite place in the world!” he told the crowd towards the end of his Friday night headline set at The Other Stage. Compared with his shows at other UK festivals, this one was something special. Picking five epic moments in a Skrillex show is like picking five grains out of a massive bowl of sugar but here goes:
The countdown, the curtain, the spaceship tank
Everything about Skrillex’s set was geared towards pumping the crowds’ brains with oceanic levels of serotonin. From the huge fluorescent digital clock to the dramatic drop of the curtain, it was geared towards anticipation, climax and relief. He performed inside a giant spaceship tank which transformed from nightly exo-skeleton to giant cockroach illuminated by different colours and patterns. Skrillex ran from side to side on different levels occasionally pausing to breathe.
The Lion King tribute
At one point the Circle Of Life ‘Ah Zabenya’ intro played out against clips from the Disney film The Lion King, Moore threw his fists to the heavens like the famous monkey and Simba scene, before electrocuting us gleefully with the next knotty breakdown.
Samples and references
But it wasn’t all up-up-up-womp, the meat of the set was a subtler journey of tracks that sampled MGMT, Pharoahe Monch and Salt N’ Pepa. It was a multi-genre cross-section pick ‘n’ mix of music from jungle to jacked up house, reggaeton to 80s pop and then sounds I’d never heard before. One beat sounded like a T-Rex filing its nails, another like a giant ogre scratching its metal cereal bowl with a giant spoon. Subtle differences. ‘Breakin’ A Sweat’, with the Jim Morrisson sample and vocals from The Doors sat side by side with drum ‘n’ bass and somehow made total sense.
Skrillex must’ve played about 100 songs, many just short bursts and snippets that segued seamlessly into the next, though others were elongated such as ‘First Of The Year’. But mirroring that, was the hyperactive visuals. Ralph Steadman-esque alien ghosts, unicorns, hamburgers, spindly monkeys, screaming babies, tiny biting monsters, vintage cars, demonic tennis balls… it was like switching channel every other second.
Let’s get emotional
Skrillex is totally committed to vibes. He unashamedly wants his audience to have a good time; the earnestness is written all over his face. Towards the end of the set, he told the crowd to sit down and then: “We’re gonna jump so high we’re going to rave in outer space forever and ever,” he cried. “Scream if you want to be young forever!!!!” and “if you’re alive tonight on this beautiful night let me hear you scream my naaaamme!!!” and other such moments harked back to his emo days in screamo band From First To Last. But, unlike with many other super-producers of similar ilk, you get the impression Skrillex isn’t doing it for the cash. He genuinely loves music and taking people on an emotional journey.