Excision, Zomboy, and Vaski Execute Congress
By Michelle Stroner
Excision’s Executioner Tour came to The Congress Theater in Chicago on Saturday, January 26. The dubstep show had support from Zomboy, Vaski, and local Chicago acts. It was a sold out show that was, for the most part, full of high energy and excitement. Even though Vaski, the first main opener, didn’t come on until about 10pm, the dance floor was packed with fans by 9pm, listening to the previous openers. I say listening because that’s what most everyone did – that, and talking. The crowd only got hyped up when the DJ played any sort of dubstep, which wasn’t very often. It was mostly mid-tempo house music.
As soon as Vaski took the stage, the audience instantly switched gears and was raging to the beats. The 22-year-old from Minneapolis played a lot of songs that had everyone going, including a mashup of “Hold It Against Me” by Britney Spears and “I Can’t Stop” by Flux Pavilion. He remixed Savage’s “Swing” and even did a trap remix of Darude’s “Sandstorm.” At one point in his set, Vaski jumped into the audience and crowd surfed as the bass dropped on one of his tracks.
The energy kept flowing as Zomboy rocked the decks. The audience partied harder than before with Zomboy dropping sick beats, one right after the other. Remixes of “Internet Friends” by Knife Party, “Breakin’ A Sweat” by Skrillex featuring The Doors, and “Alive” by Krewella were only a few of the tracks that had fans dancing like no one was watching. To turn things up even more, the British DJ finished his set with some fast-tempo drum and bass.
After witnessing the crazy one-hour set from Zomboy, I knew Excision had a tough act to follow. But there was one thing that Excision had that the other acts did not – The Executioner – A giant army-tank-looking stage production, which had 3D images and animation projected onto it from the back of the theater. These visuals along with all of the lights were synced to the music, creating a set of epic proportions. The music, however, was a different story. It was fun, but there would be times where the crowd seemed to be drained of all their energy. My guess is that Excision didn’t switch it up enough; some mid to lower-tempo tracks went on for too long, resulting in what seemed to be a bored, uninterested crowd.
With that said, Excision did have an insane 100,000 watt sound system. The bass that was heard at the beginning of his set went through your whole body, and there was nothing you could do about it. Some of the tracks he performed include the Dirtyphonics remix of “Deviance,” a collaboration Excision did with Datsik, “Execute,” “Headbanga,” a collaboration with Downlink, and “Wasteland” by Destroid. Excision closed the show with Flux Pavilion’s “Blow the Roof” and “Vindicate,” another collaboration with Datsik.
The music was entertaining, but the production of Excision’s set was what fans seemed to enjoy the most. Multiple guys had girls on their shoulders so that the girls could see the stage. With all of the special effects from The Executioner, people that were smoking or rolling (or doing both) found the effects to be that much more entertaining. The crowd seemed to have two extremes – those with low energy that were mellowed out and getting distracted by LED gloves and the lights/lasers in the show, and those with high energy that were raging, crowd surfing, sharing their rave shades, and throwing their sweatshirts all over the place.
Because the show drew mostly a male crowd, about 70/30, there were plenty of guys that didn’t have a shirt by the end of the night. After the show, I overheard a girl saying that the first four to five rows was “a human slip n slide,” meaning there was no way around rubbing up against sweaty guys, which was only made worse when foam started spraying out of machines on the ceiling. Shows like this bring people together in a way not many other things do. When everyone was exiting the venue at the end of the night, for some reason or another, a roaring chant of “U.S.A” could be heard echoing throughout the building. All in all, it was a fun night. Zomboy brought the music and Excision brought everything else.