Since Skream’s pre-teen spinning days, he has evolved as a DJ, producer and industry mogul, evident after his open to close performance at Verboten on Thursday, November 12th.
Although many EDM historians recognize Skream (Oliver Jones) as one of the juggernauts who spearheaded UK dubstep into the US mainstream, Jones has certainly come a long way since then. Skream has moved from the bass end of the EDM spectrum and has adopted a tech house sound in his sets, which will be featured throughout the remainder of his “Open to Close” tour.
Opening the night with an eclectic mish-mosh of various house-friendly tracks, one favorite that was played was a house remix of Missy Elliot’s “Work It” (convenient choice by Jones, seeing as the new Missy Elliot track, “WTF,” debuted the same day). What makes an open to close tech-house set so interesting for listeners (aside from the fact that the genre’s cadence makes songs easy enough to dance to, so anyone can feel like they have dancing rhythm), is that it gives the proper amount of time for each song to fluidly dissolve into the next, which was just the case for Skream as he mixed in songs like Todd Terje’s remix of “Plastik.” The strings shredding throughout the song were so crisp to the ear that you could feel your arm hairs make 90 degree angles with your skin. Listen for yourself below:
The set progressed with songs featuring rambunctious vocals and ‘chugga-chugga’ rhythms (reminiscent of the little engine that could), such as Phil Weeks, “It’s The Inside That Counts.” And just like the little engine, nothing could slow the momentum of the crowd down from moving to the track’s addictive hook.
Skream’s demeanor remained constant and unwavering throughout the set, even as the Verboten walls transformed with trippy artistic images and recorded footage of people screaming (to be frank, it took me at least 5 minutes to understand the visual pun when I saw these images projected onto the screen).
— EDMNYC (@EDMNYC) November 13, 2015
After about two and a half hours (and a few drinks) into his set, you could see Skream’s composure loosen and he even he showed off some dance moves. I mean, how could he resist as he bumped house jams like “I Get Deep (Late Nite Tuff Guy Remix)” by DJ Le Roi and “Wanna Go Bang” by Geeeman.
Toward the end of the night, Skream took us all on an auditory journey, which emphasized the drum beats that make us all love tech house in the first place. Grittier songs like “T.A.P.” by Marcus Mixx made the set list (with vocals too dirty to clean Christina Aguilera’s act up) as well.
Open to close sets for any artist are sure to be a challenge, but Jones has kicked off this ambitious tour and endeavor in such a positive way, that I’m sure the remainder of the US stops along the way are bound to experience just the same amount of musical majesty as we did at Verboten.
Stay weird fellow ragers!