Live review: Charlotte Gets F*cking Weird, Chop Shop (7/27/2013)



Charlotte Gets F*cking Weird
Chop Shop
July 27, 2013

There's a line nine people deep out-stretched to what seems like feet away from the train tracks that parallel The Chop Shop. Crowds are (im)patiently waiting to enter the fourth Get's F*cking Weird. Clearly, this was the party to attend this past weekend, and the lack of parking in and around NoDa was further proof.

Alternating between the aforementioned venue and Phoenix Nightclub, the event has grown from its semi-regular nightly to a mini tour, with this past weekend's Charlotte date kicking off a five-city tour in Asheville, Columbia, New York City and Raleigh.

This was my first time attending the show, and before I delve into my thoughts on the rotating event, I should probably establish what I think weird is.

Exhibit A: Two bros trying on cardigans in the same changing room at Abercrombie. Weird.

Exhibit B: A girl, no older than 8 years, riding a bicycle in Dilworth and cradling a man in the front wicker basket. Fucking weird.

Now, maybe I just have a high threshold as to what weird is, but I found myself surprisingly un-weirded by the majority of the acts I saw.

Walking into the Chop Shop, the air is thick as the venue is filled with 18-year-olds to 20-something's donning neon outfits ready to take on the night. The production for the main stage was perfectly mapped for the warehouse space; making it easy for anyone to view the "weird" acts on stage.

Are aerial silk contortionists weird? Anyone who's seen P!nk on tour recently or has witnessed the magic of Cirque Du Soleil first hand has seen the silk act before, or as I like to call it, the artistically unraveling mummy. So, while beautiful, I wouldn't necessarily say weird.

Fire breathers and fire accessories? If you've been to Snug Harbor recently, that's pretty normal.

There was never a point in the evening where I felt this overwhelming sensation of weird come over me. Quite honestly, it just felt like any other dance music show that you would come to expect as of late. I would've liked to have some weird acts interacting with the crowd. There's a guy that eats glass - hire that weirdo and get him to walk through the audience eating glass and target all the girls with tutus and face paint.

With a title like Get's Fucking Weird, to me, I feel it should be embraced to the fullest extent. Perhaps the thing I love most about this party is their platform for booking only local and regional DJs and talent. There will never be a "major" headliner, although, local favorites like Your Dirty Habit, Aaron Sigmon and DJ Frenzy have played in the past. This time around, there wasn't anyone on the bill I recognized besides the event's mainstays and co-founders Boy Beats World and Kyle Biddy. Unfortunately, the event's platform of only local and regional talent is a double-edged sword. I feel that for this edition, some of the acts may have been chosen prematurely.

The amount of times I heard a DJ train wreck a mix or just simply use the crossfader without beat-matching the next track was astonishing. And even worse, no one seemed to care. Inside, some of the DJs had issues with levels (cue Avicii jokes here) causing the speakers to blow in and out. Now, I didn't see a limiter in the sound booth, but if I had, it surely would've all been in the red.

Also, seeing the soundboard guy shake his head is never a good sign. Outside, one DJ was just going ape shit on the phaser effect. It would literally be: Two measures (phaser), two measures (phaser), and lather, rinse, repeat.

Seriously guys? The level of experience or lack there of, was apparent and rather off-putting to me. Which raises the question; if fundamental DJing techniques and respect for equipment aren't really the focal point here, what is?

I really enjoyed Drummer VS. Emulator, a duo that utilized the transparent touch screen mixing desk that artists like Deadmau5 and Infected Mushroom have used on tour recently. I for one certainly haven't seen that technology in Charlotte and I appreciated seeing that close up.

Don't get me wrong; if you are looking for the quintessential party to define the current trends of dance music, by all means, this is the one to go to. This is the perfect event for the younger generation to release their inner freak and sweat in the company of hundreds of other strangers. You will have fun, you might join the Rope Gang, and there is no way that any body, no matter the outfit, can keep from dancing. But I would like to see the concept morph into a more educational set up for the people interested in learning more about dance music.

Anyone can play electro-trap-rudimentary-step-mashup-anthems, but that is not the bulk of this community or what it's about. Psy-trance can get fucking weird. Techno, tech house and minimal are notoriously weird. Drum and bass and jungle? Still weird. Will other dance music genres get their weird chance?

Bottom line: For a fun time, no frills and cheap thrills, Get's Fucking Weird is the party you want to be at. Looking for a DJ to take you on a mind-bending journey using intuitive track selection and mixed perfectly? I didn't get that this go around, but then again, there's always the next time.

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