Enclosed in the cockpit of a giant neon mothership, Skrillex exalted Red Rocks Amphitheatre with a shower riffs and the type of deep bellowing synth-surges that have come to exemplify his sound on Friday. One of the last nights that he would be landing his space ship in front of U.S. crowds, Skrillex’s show went on as planned despite the shooting that overshadowed Thursday’s Nas, Flying Lotus and Schoolboy Q show.
His formula is simple: he gets people dancing. He outperformed his openers with a prodigal flair that left many of his fans wondering why it took a laborious 3-plus hours for him to finally hit the stage. In fact, by the time Skrillex’s “countdown-to-launch” actually registered on the big screen, most of the crowd was already blitzed in a self-induced coma of pharmaceutical rapture. But Sonny John Moore’s showmanship and energy snapped the audience back into raw unfettered form as he climbed atop his DJ-stand and fist-pumped his legion of rave children into a frothy contra fervor. “Try It Out,” “Make It Bun Dem” and a tribal “Lion King” remix were all masterful renditions that underscored the sharp kidney punch built into Skrillex’s artistry. Skrillex is, above all, a perfectionist and a chief audiophile. He also holds nothing back in his performance.
The sideshow was a mystical treat as well. Cameras on-board the mothership gave the crowd a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the soul of Moore’s computer odyssey. Behind him, the LED screen was also frenzied with quicks cuts of computer bluescreen and digital creatures in mid-groove. It was like hacking into Eric Snowden’s NSA feed. If the show felt a bit illicit and naughty — that is probably a good thing. After all, Skrillex loves being subversive.
Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native and regular contributor to Reverb.