Dubstep phenomenon SKRILLEX is descending on Hong Kong this Friday, November 9th. Over the last year club PLAY has turned things up a notch and has begun bringing in a strong lineup of foreign DJs.
SKRILLEX is their biggest name to date, although just last week they hosted N.E.R.D. (minus Pharrell,) as well as Taboo, the DJ from the Black Eyed Peas.
In previous years, VOLAR and Dragon-i had been the only ones to book acts and DJs on this level. Over the last six months, PLAY seems to be garnering not just mainstream talent, but also big names from the electronic dance music scene.
Hong Kong nightlife denizens are the beneficiaries, having the opportunity to now catch first-rate names that are rocking international dancefloors (and stadiums,) worldwide.
Hong Kong’s relatively small size clubs make it difficult to bring the big names, as the number of people that can fit in a club is quite limited (and therefore, the return on investment is more difficult.)
In the past, most of Central’s clubs were “members only”, and Hong Kong partygoers rarely paid cover charges for DJs, so the $600 HKD price for an early bird ticket to SKRILLEX may frighten off certain nightlife crowds.
Also, the majority of Hong Kong’s clubs focus on mainstream Pop music, so there isn’t a large local club that has regularly exposed and cultivated a crowd to be into Dubstep. Most partygoers at large local clubs unfortunately expect to hear a string of Top 40 songs (that they already know) throughout the night.
Paying for a DJ whose music you don’t appreciate is a tough sell, except that people are often positively biased towards ‘foreign’ and ‘famous’, and SKRILLEX fits both of those categories nicely. (He’s actually one of the biggest names in contemporary dance music at the moment.)
Dubstep isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Its sound has been described as “R2d2 being raped by Transformers.”
It’s worth pointing out that dance music, once the domain of small indie labels, has been invaded by the major labels who are now feeding new stars to the public using their massive publicity machines. It’s one of the key factors that has contributed to the recent rise of the superstar DJ phenomenon.
Over the past year it’s been interesting to watch the response as visiting DJs test the waters with a few Dubstep tracks during their sets. The same response that would have people going crazy in the U.S., seems to be less enthusiastic in Hong Kong, as audiences aren’t as familiar with the big songs of the Dubstep genre.
However, the fact that Central’s nightlife is now made up of a sizable number of exchange students (a crowd that didn’t exist just three years ago,) who are familiar with dubstep hits, makes hosting DJ’s such as SKRILLEX a financially sound proposition.
Regardless of your familiarity, SKRILLEX is worth catching as it’s an opportunity to hear the master of bleeps and beats in his prime.
Friday, November 9th, 2012
1st Floor, On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace (Just up the stairs from the intersection of Wyndham Street and Wellington Street)
Central, Hong Kong
Early-bird tickets $600, $800 at the door, $1200 VIP access