Part III of the Together 2012 series is here! … three weeks and lots of sleep later.
“Somebody asked me this question earlier,”
RJD2 says at the Dise on the last night of Together 2012 (after taking off his Commissioner Crotchbuttons outfit: a welder’s mask and jumpsuit that he wore while playing the MPC hanging from his belt).
“And it got me thinking…”
I watch him as he pauses for a second to look out onto the crowd, struck by the magic of his thoughtful expression in the silence, his three turntables not moving for the first time since he started playing.
“This really is the honest truth, I can’t look back on the club scene and think of one show that wasn’t the shit in Boston.”
The crowd erupts with cheers and applause. I look left and right, not a single face in the packed Dise is unsmiling.
“I don’t know shit about the Red Sox or baseball or sports, but it’s like you guys are batting at .598,” he says, laughing.
Holy shit, I asked him that question!!! I think to myself as he mans his mixers, looks to his live drummer, and continues with a whimsical yet coordinated masterpiece of a set. At one point he uses the feet of a palm-sized Mario action figure to play beats on his MPC beneath a Tetris sample, his hands and Mario blown up and projected on the giant screen behind the stage.
Fuck sports, this is the best part of Boston, I think. Games played with beats and samples. Everything from Tetris to the guitar riff in Betty Wright’s “Secretary” for Ghost Writer … bits and pieces morphed and combined that lead to something better and new, to new musical discoveries. The sample at the beginning of this track is so epic:
One of the most talented technical producers, playing five minutes away from my house, with a Mario figurine, telling us that he doesn’t like to take himself too seriously.
This EDM game in Boston is the best thing I’ve ever been a part of, and what RJ said about the crowds in Boston before the show,
“That’s a rarity, honestly. I can’t say that for most cities,”
stays with me throughout the night.
…a night that doesn’t end until after 2am. Until the lights go on on a Sunday night after after Voices of Black at Middlesex Lounge, what I now will always call Cambridge’s “music box.” It’s the seventh day of a weeklong festival during which we’ve all gone to so many shows that we’ve hardly gotten enough sleep and have repeatedly declared that we’ve completely lost our minds—
and yet, everyone arrives dancing.
It strikes me again: there’s something special about these people, about this scene.
Okay. You’ve got festivals like Electric Zoo that cram 80,000 kids onto a remote island, far removed from the city of New York. You’ve got 3,000 kids in the middle of the woods at The Big Up, and 20,000 filling the deserted, enchanted forests of Michigan at Electric Forest/Rothbury.
Then you’ve got the 20,000 people who were part of Together Festival in Boston.
A DJ behind turntables is spinning in a window on Mass Ave. All of the heads inside are moving with hers, in sync.
“What is that in there?”
What’s that giant glowing art sculpture that remains throughout the night as everyone inside disperses to shows all over the city, glowing bright to remind people that we are here for the week and that we are not asleep… we are dancing.
I have been to my share of epic music festivals. But they were nothing like this. Our EDM scene is special. With art and music working hand-in-hand, this festival transforms an entire city from right within it.
The people who spent every waking moment during those two weeks, and months of their time before and after this festival—the people responsible for the explosion of electronic music hitting Cambridge and Boston almost every night at 20+ venues—they take what we have to work with in these cities and make a music festival happen right in the middle of it.
Those who can’t sit in an office chair for very long without going nuts transform our home into a factory of creativity for a week, bringing together people from all sides, anyone with a new idea, new music … people who connect art, technology and sound in such a way that otherworldly things are born (photos Camoland // Amalgamate) …
creatives who seize this one week every year to come together and invite all of us into this other world.
DJ Mr. McNeill at The Get Together
In two random buildings on Mass Ave., while normal people walk by on their way to work, these people dare to live differently.
The Get Together, 541 Mass Ave.
And the people stop and they stare and they want to be a part of it, even if they don’t know what it is.
“I sell them for $5 or less, unless it’s like, a rare album. Last year I made over $400 on dubstep alone.”
-Dan the Record Man (pictured above)
Boxes and boxes of records labeled “Trance” and “Techno,” feather earrings, and printed tees line Shakedown St. as usual, but it’s inside a large, unused building right on Mass Ave., the columns inside fresh with green paint. This is The Get Together. Local DJs do not stop spinning at the Together Center two doors down for two weeks, and anyone can go and lay on a Yogibo and chill out to some dope music whenever they crave an hour’s escape. DubSpot teaches kids how to do that, how to produce music, on a daily basis. Every single venue that has a weekly dance night is given 2-3 major shows. People like me cannot decide which ones to pick.
A festival that brings UV-reactive chess, the Sonotron, and 30+ DJs and producers, those of international acclaim but also a local showcase of talent that 20,000 people now notice…
… musicians of all sorts of varying styles and talents, a week devoted all to them… and all to us, so that we are all somewhere dancing late into every night.
Almost every artist I interviewed (Adam Deitch, Nero, Starkey, RJD2, Modeselektor) said they see an extra fire, this special something, in Boston crowds. We have so much energy, I feel it’s pent up inside of us and for one week we had an outlet, a release.
House of Blues sold out with young kids getting into Nero. Gramatik and Break Science crowds were also young and rowdy … the kids are starting to feel the beat. The rest is a toss up, a win-win-win situation: go see a dubstep superstar like Mala at Good Life or Joe Nice at Think Tank. Or witness a Drum and Bass legend, Photek. Go see producers who are recording slamming doors and the tinkle of a drip of water and making music with those sounds—the Berklee-trained musicians of the JASS live collective, like Time Wharp or Oneohtrix Point Never at the Middle East. Or go listen to the stuff that’s your shit, like for me, Todd Edwards at Heart Throb, Falty DL, and Wheez-ie.
When Wheez-ie was at Brighton Music Hall, all around me, people were tapping friends’ shoulders, screaming, “Who’s that?” Realize that you are discovering what you like and what producers get you moving.
It’s the best kind of festival, because it truly is the underground brought to light, the light going on with one after another musical discovery, as you come together with all of the people in Boston who are like you and gathered on a dance floor under flashing lights
… late into the night … still dancing.
It hits me again around 3pm on the last day. When I finally wake up after the Get Together and Photek, after a week’s worth of shows, and look in the mirror.
There are literally huge bags under my eyes and eyeliner smudged all over my face. My bracelets are a mix of various wristbands; my tattoos are hand-stamps. My hair is plastered dramatically to one side of my head from the sweaty dance party at Machine last night. But instead of feeling guilty or ashamed after a night of too much whiskey … I die of laughter.
This has been the best fucking week EVER.
Ten minutes later, involuntarily, I’m on my way to the Together Center because I do not want it to end.
I crash into a Yogibo next to Joanna and Charles. We’re all on the verge of comas and insanity. But Wheez-ie and Prism are in the mix. And they sound better than ever, because I’m laying next to all of my friends and there’s this unspoken understanding between everyone in the room.
1) Thank God for Wheez-ie right now.
2) Thank God for these Yogibo Bags.
3) Give me three straight days of sleep and then we’ll start planning for next year.
Until then, thanks Together 2012 for changing my life and bringing the music and the madness to Boston.
There is only more music to come.
SPECIAL THANKS TO NICK MINIERI, BEANTOWNBOOGIEDOWN.COM // MICK MURRAY, IN YOUR FACE PHOTO // AND SYDNEY LINDBERG, UNREGULAR RADIO .. FOR ALL THE DOPE PHOTOS FROM TOGETHER 2012!!