Speedy J. and Scott Pagano (controlling the visuals with a Wii remote!) at Neumo's, 9/22. Photo by Russ.

The 4th year of Decibel , the biggest,


Decibel Festival '07 Wrap-Up: Damn!

Or: Robot Rock Ruined Me!


Speedy J. and Scott Pagano (controlling the visuals with a Wii remote!) at Neumo's, 9/22. Photo by Russ.

The 4th year of Decibel, the biggest, baddest electronic music festival in the NW wasn't always "harder, better, faster, stronger" as I predicted, but then I didn't have the stamina to make it to every showcase. It may very well have been all those adjectives. Based on what I did catch (Thurs., Fri., and Sat. showcases at Neumo's), it was certainly fiercer and louder.

Thursday night's Db kick-off party with Simian Mobile Disco, Switch, and Diplo was the most packed, and the most buzzing with energy. Sets from the first two artists were fun if not overly technical, and kept everyone moving. I left about 20 minutes into Diplo's set, as sometimes I just can't hang with his style. I hear that everyone got onstage as usual near the end for some pop classic or another! Ritter?

Biggest regret of the weekend: bypassing Chop Suey on Friday night, where Jacob London were working their electro-house magic in actual wizard outfits (long white beards, pointy caps)! After a few months break from harping about what great DJs and producers they are--how they somehow consistenly pick the sexiest, most interesting songs you've never heard--I recently was reminded, at a very underattended Baltic Room show. This weekend, everyone but me was in the right place at the right time--meanwhile, I was at a lackluster, sparsely attended set by Guns N Bombs, which I left after a couple of hours in favor of a local speakeasy.

Saturday night was The Big One for me, and I suspect for everyone looking forward to the more bangin' techno (or, oxymoronically, bangin' minimal) of Robert Babicz, 3 Channels, Speedy J, and Jeff Samuel. A curtain of sweat and heat pushed us out of Neumo's downstairs VIP room, where Samuel played, almost as soon as we arrived. Then as his set started, our friends down below were as blissfully trapped as we were upstairs for excellent sets from the aforementioned three. I had meant to skip between floors but when the loveliness of Babicz and 3 Channels' tracks were tempered by the constant plateau/warehouse-rave-assault of J's stuff, I simply couldn't move. The music had my spine in a grip, anchoring and forcing me to move at the same time. And that MF knew exactly what he was doing, a smirk on his face the entire time. Close to 3 a.m., the audience had thinned to 100 or so of the hardest ragers, exemplified by the woman next to me who busted out modern dance and ballet moves while using the soundboard cage as a barre. As the lights came up, J was headed to an afterparty at the Mercury, which the MC warned us "only half of you will get into." Why even make the announcement then?

Sunday, I watched Mean Girls and three hours of Planet Earth. If anyone can report on the finale showcase with Chris de Luca and Phon.0, Harold Budd/Robin Guthrie's ambient set, or wants to shout out their favorite locals who represented, please do! And rest up for next year.

You can hear some of Db's best artists over & over & over & over again with our handy Decibel 2007 Playlist. Also, check out KEXP's current Music that Matters podcast (scroll down the page) for these tracks. So nice to see so many locals thrown in there:

  1. Guns N Bombs - Crossover Appeal
  2. Claude VonStroke - Who's Afraid of Detroit?
  3. Robert Babicz - Neoreplicator
  4. Motor - Yak
  5. Diplo - Work Is Never Over
  6. Jacob London - Interest Rates Just Fell Again
  7. Santogold - Creator (produced by Switch)
  8. Rafael Anton Irisarri - A Thousand-Yard Stare
  9. Strategy - Running on Empty
  10. DJ T - Philly (Mike Shannon remix)
  11. Alland Byallo - Dark Tide Disco (original mix)
  12. Lusine - Stones Throw

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