'The beauty of an electronic crowd is grounded in its eclecticism'
Evan Dale // April 27, 2019
We walk into the venue, circle the bar, and take advantage of a few rounds of shot-and-a-beer drink specials. We’re early and the place is relatively empty. Naturally, the beginning of our night revolves around conversation. That conversation – as it always does with us – circles music. Tonight is a different direction for the majority of the foursome we make up. But for this venue, our locale, and the entire state of Colorado, electronic music has for a decade or more driven the popular live music scene. With Giraffage and Ryan Hemsworth in town, the place is bound to fill out quickly.
We discuss other electronic shows we’ve seen together in the past, and ones we’d like to see together in the near future. We discuss Giraffage’s 2013 album, Needs and how much Close 2 Me meant for our introduction into Dreamwave production. We talk about Hemsworth’s Alone For The First Time and what Snow In Newark did for so many’s piece of mind.
The music starts – a local opening DJ – and a small crowd of peculiar and curious individuals begin to flood through the doors. The beauty of an electronic crowd is grounded in its eclecticism. There is no definition, no expectation, and no consistency. Italian dress shoes knock on the wooden floorboards adjacent to designer hypebeast sneakers and dirty Chuck Taylors. But they all get the job done for their individuals – tribal rhythmic movement. It starts slow. The crowd is still small. The music is relatively unknown and tame. People sway nonetheless, so we pull ourselves from our corner booth and find a comfortable position on the dancefloor.
Looking down, even our foursome’s collection of footwear is vast and varied. We fit the lack of mold.
The venue isn’t showy. In all honesty, it’s minimalist when it comes to the stage and the lights. But the atmosphere breathed into it by the crowd is enticing and dedicated to the music. Ryan Hemsworth makes his way on stage first, posts up behind a tablecloth covered card table, and goes to work. Eastern-inspired production, minimalist aesthetics, and the lengthy DJ’s goofy dance moves make everyone feel at peace and at home.
By this point, the crowd has filled out the dancefloor in a manner comfortable and spaced enough for everyone to divulge in the music and their own eclectic dance moves. As Hemsworth sets the tone, we indulge. But around us, in a manner fitting and stereotypical of the electronic scene and Colorado’s culture, it seems like we’re the only ones who haven’t indulged in particular substances. We’ve been offered too many times by too many of the same people who have forgotten that they’ve already offered. But we’re too old and too past our prime for such offerings, so we stick to more shot-and-a-beer specials. After all, debauchery is in the eye of the beholder.
But it can be awkward to be the only crew at a concert not rolling your faces off. The atmosphere around us has completely dissolved into utter and sloppy absurdity. But through it all, a deeper understanding of the music and its focal point as a place of safety and lack of judgement becomes more apparent. Everyone around us is happy. So are we. We continue on our way content to be less bloodshot, sweaty, and hyperactive than our peers. They’re content to be less stagnant, conversational, and tired than us.
In time, Giraffage joins Ryan Hemsworth behind the black table cloth covered card table and they work in unison, trading drops and buildups like rappers trade punchlines and verses. It’s encapsulating to see too modern composers without any sort of classic instrumentation work simultaneously to bring something so unique, explosive, yet cohesive into this minimalist palace of MDMA-driven indulgence and ridiculousness. Even for us – those inebriated in a way less conducive to the music – the sight is something to behold and remember.
From there, the two cut in and out of one another’s sets. Hemsworth gives Giraffage his time to play a solid run, and Giraffage returns the favor with some solo spots. Subdued synths and hyper-experimental creative risks define the auditory aesthetic. The visual one however, has taken on a very different sort of turn. Spilled beer and endless footwork have turned everyone’s eclectic shoes a similar tint and quality. The highs of Denver’s darkest electronic corner are hitting their peaks and the music of Giraffage and Ryan hemsowrth is the only thing keeping the audience tethered to reality – even if it’s one entirely invented by the musicians themselves.
At this point in the night, with the show drawing to an end, we have finally begun to stick out from the crowd, and we push backwards to the bar to allow everyone the necessary space they need to dance harder and breath harder.
An interesting perspective of the dance floor in no manner takes away from the quality on stage. And in that fine delineation lies the beauty of this and so many other modern electronic shows. The crowd is eclectic yet unified. The footwear proves it. The atmosphere is driven by the experimentalism of modern composers influenced largely by a lack of definition in electronic music. The energy is directed by drug use and a love for inundating oneself with the energy of everyone and everything happening in the room. And no one cares about anything else. We are outliers at the show, but only we seem to notice. So instead, we give our attention to Giraffage and Ryan Hemsworth on stage – the two ringleaders of this bizarre, otherworldly circus.