Headbangers Unite | Excision at 40: A Retrospective
Hey, Freaks! I’m Cosmic Kitten!
I can’t say, for certain, that I was the oldest person at Excisions tour stop in Portland this last week, but I was definitely one of the few in a sweaty mass of half-naked 20-somethings. Not that I mind. Nor was I merely observing from the balcony. I was right there in it with all of them, throwing elbows, banging my head and going just as hard. Fucking try me!
I’ve been going to raves for about 20 years now. Back when there was just a flyer with a phone number that would lead you to some abandoned warehouse where the music went till 6 in the morning. We also wore actual clothes back then too, JnCo’s and white visors. But, I’m not going to get all elitist, old school raver.. obviously the scene has changed and become more mainstream but I’ve embraced the changes and after a show like last weeks Excision’s Paradox Tour, it just reinforces my love of rave culture.
This was definitely not my first Excision show, I’ve seen him several times and always have an absolute blast. One bonus to the scene becoming more mainstream, is the quality of light and sound. Excision’s stage and visuals are INSANE. Especially after years of just a few minimal lights and crappy lasers like back in the day. Not to mention the fog cannons and intensely loud, face-melting sound. (Thank you PK.) He recently updated as well, so there were lots of new visuals to blow your damn mind. Overall, it is a total sensory overload, to say the least.
His set was great, he played all his best and the crowd was loving every minute of it, throwing up their XXX’s and banging their heads to filthy drops. Sometimes, his set is like being in a video game with guns blasting out in space and other times it’s Jurassic Park with an angry T-Rex who emerges from the jungle leaves, baring his teeth. (The Wonky Song). When he plays Harambe, a gigantic gorilla appears to loom above the crowd and beat his chest in anger over his untimely demise. A fitting tribute I hope he can somehow appreciate. When he plays Africa, it starts downtempo with a Lion King reminiscent sunset and a flock of birds swirling in the sky. When the bass finally drops, two gigantic elephants bare their tusks and come charging at you. Fog cannons erupt and the crowd loses it.
Nothing beats the build up, anticipation and total release when that bass drops. That’s the thing, that’s what has remained true through all these years. All of us are there for the same reason.. to dance and party and lose yourself in the therapeutic effects of music. Raves are like a mini vacation, they’re an escape from the mundane reality and a chance to be free and lose yourself in the moment. It’s beautiful and that will always remain no matter how the scene changes.
What also remains true is the kindness and love of all the people there who all want to share in the same moment. I love that I can still make new best friends with girls I meet in the bathroom, complimenting each others’ outfits and trading kandi. Kandi itself still exists though it may be fading out a bit, there will always be kandi kids at raves. I made an Excision perler and traded it with a beautiful shirtless young man with a perfect chest who gave me an amazing hug and ran off to show his friends what I had given him. I love the feeling you get when you trade a dope piece and stoke the other person out.
In the end, it was a great show with all good vibes that totally reinforced my love of the scene. Yes, it has changed but everything has to evolve and the underlying message is still there. Let’s face it, the world could use a lot more PLUR and by going more mainstream that message is further spread. I can’t imagine ever wanting to stop raving, no matter how old I get. I never “feel old” at events and kinda love the reactions I get when I tell kids how old I am. I may be way sorer the day after than they are, but it is totally worth it and I can’t wait to do it again.
Thanks Excision for showing this fan the time of her life, every time I see you. And for the rest of you enjoy the tour!