Notes from USC 12 and Beyond

TCM at WaMu.jpg
Jackie Canchola
When the dude pedaling us from his bike-taxi or rickshaw or whatever it's called from our car Saturday night to WaMu Theater for USC 12 (featuring the Crystal Method, the Prodigy, and Kaskade) announced that he was in the midst of a serotonin binge and had more tucked in a cubby beneath the seat should we feel the need to partake, I said a silent prayer. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I'm not 19 anymore.

But fuck it, right? My buddy Matt from Tampa was in town, and the weekend had already been pretty epic--bar-hopping in Belltown on Friday, daytime-drinking on a yacht earlier that day--so why not push the boundaries and see what's out there? Lord knows that partying and enjoying the acts wasn't going to happen in WaMu unless you made your own arrangements anyway: the bars were set up outside of the stage area, which made drinking and rocking-out at the same time impossible. This pissed us off at first, but then we met a couple of nice young ladies in the ad business, and things picked up a mite.

We chatted about all sorts of shit--writing, traveling, how obnoxious yet strangely charming Matt was, like a serial killer without a weapon or the desire to use it, and at one point I think I even yapped about having an MFA, which is kinda like mentioning you're on unemployment--before heading in to check out the Prodigy. Time looped and bent over itself the whole night, so I can't recall if I caught the Crystal Method before Matt and I met the girls, or after. Doesn't matter--my brain-pan was full of gunk and nothing can be done about that now.

During both the Method's and the Prodigy's set, we posted up in the rear of the action, between the roiling masses pushed up against the stage on the floor and the folks sitting on the bleachers behind us. (Yes, people were sitting on bleachers.) I was sorry I missed Kaskade, but I'm glad I caught the Method, though I'm not sure about the specifics of their set, except this: I would have much preferred to catch them at a smaller venue, like Neumo's. True, I could've pushed forward and tried to get a better spot, but I just couldn't bring myself to make that kind of journey given the precariousness of the terrain. The feeling of listening/seeing the Method will stick with me, though.

The Prodigy sucks. That I know for sure--and I further know that the ad girls were with us at that point. They made fun of me for sitting back with my hand on my chin and just sort of spitting and frothing about how boring it was getting battered lame by the pubescent bellicosity of "Smack My Bitch Up" and the like. I'm just not feeling it. Whereas the Method emerged from the late-night, drug-centric culture of the rave scene with an eye toward evolution, I couldn't help but think the Prodigy were like those dudes who once had a try-out with a pro football team, got cut early in the process, yet continue to brag about that one time The Fridge bent their spine like an accordion during practice. In short: The Prodigy seem stuck in a moment that passed long ago.

Outside with the other smokers, Matt and I said goodbye to the ladies and hello to a promoter passing out flyers for an after-hours party. I was in no condition to drive, of course, and I was a little spooked by the sight of some poor kid fishing on the ground as the result of what was presumably an overdose. The paramedics were on top of it, though, and the kid was nothing if not well taken care of. Hope he's doing all right.

All of that combined to push me to ask the promoter if we could roll with him--like, in his car. Surprisingly, he obliged. (Thanks again, man!) Off we went in his tricked-out ride, which looked like it came off the set of the Fast and the Furious, and over to the after-hours soiree. Still don't know if I should mention the location, but, suffice it to say, it's a rarity in Seattle: BYOB. (Send me an email if it's allowable to give specifics, gang, and I'll post a follow up.)

And it's a true underground party in other ways. First, it's literally underground--stairs lead the way into a dark space dotted with couches and chairs but with plenty of room for dancing. And second, the battery of DJs served some real nasty dubstep, mid-tempo and glitch hop at a volume level that was probably more dangerous for my ears than the other stuff was for my brain. So yeah, it was good.

They say dubstep is making a comeback of sorts, which is just fine by me, though, as one of my editors in Vegas noted, it's unclear how it grows into something beyond a blip on the radar screen a la drum and bass a while back. Thing is, dubstep is so much more danceable than drum and bass, which may bode well for its ability to latch onto the culture a little more firmly. Just saying.

Gory details aside, Matt and I stumbled up the stairs and into the light too early/late to remember. We hitched another ride with another promoter, whose car had to be push-started. (Note to self: don't volunteer to push-start a car after partying all night. You end up face first in the gravel with a skinned knee and strangers standing near the entrance of a club laughing at you.)

Anyway, we arrived alive. My couch has never felt better.

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