New York City is a canvas for hopes and dreams. Even in the midst of a bitter rivalry with Los Angeles for the cherished "Mama, I made it" slogan, there's a reason why the iconic Madison Square Garden is unable to be replicated anywhere else. Ahead of Skrillex's album release and a highly anticipated show at the beloved arena, he wanted to use the city as his playground.
While it's not a requirement to watch a live show to fully understand and appreciate music, the rising cost of music festivals compounded with travel and lodging makes immersive, community-building experiences such as Coachella or Ultra a luxury for few to experience. And until the Swifties take them down in court, Ticketmaster and other ticketing sites continue to arbitrarily inflate prices, favoring scalpers over die-hard fans.
In the case of massive global DJ and producer sensation Skrillex, born Sonny Moore, he's been marred by these obstacles. When he touched down in New York City with friends and collaborators Fred Again.. and Four Tet, he knew the three should set forth on a jam-packed week of surprise shows with the intention of giving as many fans as possible the cathartic experience of dance music in a live setting.
The trio first touched down at Good Room, one of Brooklyn's most beloved dance venues. Despite rumblings that it might shut its doors as another victim of the pandemic, the club has persevered thanks to its loyal patrons. The powerhouses warped through an intense four-hour set back to back as the friction of everyone's bodies began to form a thick layer of humidity in the air that filled the 700-capacity venue. Even then, the show went on.
With bated breath, fans waited for the next announcement and began speculating where the next pop-up show could be. Instead of going with higher-capacity venues such as Terminal 5 or Brooklyn Steel, the trio opted for the equally tiny Le Poisson Rouge, a Greenwich Village staple that welcomes avant-garde and classical musicians mixed in with occasional punk bands and rappers. Set around a small stage in the middle of the floor, fans swarmed the DJs for another four-hour set. On the suspiciously warm Thursday night in the middle of February, fans left the club eagerly awaiting the announcement of an afterparty, a welcome rumor for the fans unable to snag tickets for either pop-up. While that didn't pan out, Skrillex and the gang had one more trick up their sleeve.
Despite inclement weather, the tech-savvy trio announced a final pop-up ahead of their Madison Square Garden show, this time in the middle of Times Square out of a school bus. While the actual lot in which the show was held was unable to hold nearly as many people, passersby and unsuspecting tourists slowed their stroll to witness some of the biggest acts in the world huddled inside a converted school bus broadcasting electronic dance music to the masses.
This egalitarian approach even reached as far as their final stop at Madison Square Garden, regarded as the final boss of music venues. Instead of the strange seat-and-row hierarchy the venue is known for, every section was converted to general admission. Fans swarmed into the staircases and squeezed their way into every crevice. On the floor, the trio set up a small, humble stage looking out into the crowd off to the side of where the larger stage is located. With no barriers, barely any security and a loud-enough speaker, Skrillex spoke to New York through sound as the three took turns on the buttons and switches, even launching into a fan-favorite mix of Taylor Swift's "Love Story." With each pop-up, the three melded into one entity as their sets began to bleed into each other, culminating in a frenetic free-for-all.
Below, check out exclusive behind-the-scenes photos of Skrillex, Fred Again.. and Four Tet's exciting week of pop-ups leading up to the release of Skrillex's latest albums Quest For Fire and Don't Get Too Close.
2/16 - Le Poisson Rouge
2/17 - Times Square
2/18 - Madison Square Garden
Photos courtesy of Marilyn Hue, Theo Batterham and Olav Stubberud
- Portola Music Festival Showcased the Beauty of Dance Music ›
- Saying Farewell to a New York Nightlife Icon: Webster Hall ›
- Ty Dolla $ign Curates House Track Dream Team on 'Ego Death' ›
- Skrillex Interviews 100 gecs About the Future of Music ›
- Join Mimi Webb Backstage on Her 'Amelia' Tour ›