Back in Fall of 2016 our country’s bass music community received one of the most exciting pieces of news to date, the tour dates for Excision’s 2017 Paradox Tour. February 7th, 8th, and 9th, marked the days where one of Kelowna’s greatest producers and performers of all time blessed our state with hundreds of thousands of watts of pure, raw, unadulterated bass. Not only were ravers of the Carolinas thrilled for Mr. X to finally return to our East Coast haven, they were also beyond excited for the other three incredible producers on this year’s roster. Barely Alive, Dion Timmer from the Netherlands, and British Dubstep music legend Cookie Monsta. As the large setting bass sanctuary for the night known as the Fillmore Charlotte started to fill up, the lights dimmed and in the blink of an eye, 16 year old super producer Dion Timmer hit the stage.

DION TIMMER

         For a few years now we’ve been hearing about the child prodigy producer from Europe who kept appearing on tacks with Excision. After a while people started getting used to the name that we all now know and love. DION TIMMER. After witnessing that set we totally get why Excision wanted him on his tour. Could Jeff possibly see a younger version of himself in Dion? It could be! But one thing is true. Dion is a wizard behind the scene, having produced many popular singles like “Panic,” “Money”  and several collaborations with the leader of Rottun Recordings himself. When Excision announced that he would be bringing the young producer along for his infamous annual tour, we had no idea what to expect. But one thing is certain about Dion Timmer; he defies all stereotypes of being a young DJ, because that kid knows how to throw DOWN.

       We literally closed our eyes for just a second and before we could open them again to take in what was around us, Neon Dion was already getting loose on stage. His stage presence was actually second to none. Just by watching him for five minutes you can tell that Dion Timmer was born to be an entertainer. His set consisted of action packed tracks such as his incredible collaborations with Excision, “Her” and “Mirror.” He even played a hot single off his Plug Me In EP, called “Down With Me.” That performance was crazy. Another notable track was his collab with Canadian producer Snails, “Raptordactyl,” which put a stank face on anyone who was there early enough to enjoy Dion’s heavy vibes.

      In the middle of his set, an unexpected Charlotte producer ran across the stage to join his Bass music peer. It was Ray Volpe! Ray is one of our state’s leading producers, putting out tracks with hundreds of thousands of plays. He recently played a headlining show in Greenville, SC, and an incredible back to back set with Getter in Columbia. Needless to say, we were happy to see Ray on stage. He even stepped up to the bat and took a few videos of his buddy slaying Charlotte. It was beautiful. Dion was also pretty great for hanging with his fans by the rail, and he graciously got EVERY artist on the tour to sign our friend Rachel’s art book, where she made special designs of each of the DJs. Two other notable tracks that our friends truly enjoyed were “Wanna Be in Luv” off the 2016 My World EP, and “Behind,” which was absolutely stunning. Thank you for keeping it real with Charlotte, Dion!

BARELY ALIVE 

       Boy were they wrong. Barely Alive is a production/DJ duo consisting of Willie and Matt, two very musically inclined individuals who truly want to make a difference in the scene. We guarantee that some DJ from practically every Dubstep rave that you’ve been to in the last year played a track off their debut album “We Are Barely Alive.” Their album was such a huge success that they even had a GIANT billboard posted up on the highways of LA announcing the release. Who else in Dubstep has really done that? Allegedly Willie is the only one who performs live out of the two. But we weren’t disappointed by that, all we cared about was his energy on stage. Let’s get into Barely Alive’s set in Charlotte.

       Their logo consists of a little animated TV screen who always seems to be in a bad mood. They’ve created one hell of a brand using that logo, as it can be seen on several of their track’s cover art, and even in animated music videos such as the one for their hit, Elephant.” Never in a million years did we think that Willie would come out on stage sporting an incredibly well produced replica helmet of their logo. It was electric powered too. Insane to say the least. It’s actually pretty difficult to describe the whole contraption until you see it live. Or in a video! Like the one below shot by our friends from ATL TOE.

        As you can see, his set was poppin’. Barely Alive played such a wide variety of music; half of the time we were headbanging, the other half we were dancin’ and shakin’ our tails. One of the more exciting portions of the night was when Barely Alive dropped a heavy Kill The Noise remix of Zomboy’s hit single, “Like a B*tch.” You can actually catch the end of it in the video above after playing through his popular single with Twine titled, “Smash!” A track that reminds us of the familiar video game well grew up with. A few notable singles that Barely Alive played include the “Deadlink VIP“, “Scoop“, and one of our personal favorites, “Doggo.”All of our friends went absolutely bonkers when he dropped Doggo. He even played new songs like “Ca$h” and “Elastic Nightmare” off the recent Domain EP which sounded really clean through that giant sound system. It seemed like everyone in the crowd was having a blast during Barely Alive’s set.

       But let us tell you, when he played Chode Gang’s tracks, the whole city of Charlotte spazzed out. “Its chodegang motherf*cker” and “Boy Were They Wrong” are the two hit singles that everyone recognizes from the super trio comprised of Dubloadz, Virtual Riot, and Barely Alive himself. He’s also a boss for playing some of the hottest tracks in Dubstep right now, like Space Laces’ infectious single “Bugbass;” some new Herobust tunes that made the crowd lose their heads; and that dope new single by Laxx called “Noise.” Oh, and how can we forget his remix of Alex Deejay’s single “Better Off Alone.” He finished off his set with a smooth transition into Phil Collins’ hit “In the Air Tonight” which got the whole crowd single in their feels, of course. Overall, we truly enjoyed Barely Alive’s set in our hometown. Thank you for such a great performance guy!

COOKIE MONSTA

       Where do we begin? By far one of the coolest dudes to ever make bass music stepped in the building, bearing a giant, devious grin on his face that spoke “I’m about to melt everyone in Charlotte’s face off.” This man is responsible for crafting one of the most intricate wobble sounds that Dubstep has ever experienced. The man is a legend for helping kickstart one of the most ghastly and eargrabbing eras for heavy, wobbly, filthy bass music. We won’t argue that 2009-2011 was the golden era for Dubstep (in our opinion at least, fight us), and no one can take away the fact that Cookie Monsta and his crew of Circus Records producers were some of the head innovators for the scene. 6 years later this legend still holds a strong name in the Bass Music community. His name will always be relevant as long as people are making Bass Music. Let’s get into Cookie Monsta’s set!

       As the familiar faced Dubstep veteran walked out on stage, the lights changed and so did the mood of the room. After dancing to Barely Alive for what felt like a really long time, no one was ready for the monstrous set that Tony Cook had in store for our city. Throughout the night, each performer had their logo shining off the curtain behind the DJ booth. The twisted lettering spelling “Cookie Monsta” finally popped up on stage.

      Finally having traded the thin, 1 all around haircut for a mini man bun, the dark producer flashed a sneaky smile before dropping bass boms on Charlotte. We still managed to hold on to the rail for this set. No matter how many hundreds of pounds of pressure were pushed against our poor bodies, we weren’t moving from our spots for anybody. People were anxious to see Cookie Monsta! If you check out the video below, you can see what visuals the frightening producer used for his set. They cleanly matched the intensity of his music, that’s for sure. Aside from the image above, Cookie Monsta displayed evil clowns, dark red outlines of his name, and several other creepy images that fit perfectly with the theme of his set. Throughout the night he played a lot of original tunes, while dropping some heavy top tier artists along the way. You’ll see him playing some new Phiso tune below.

       He got the show on the road with his new single “Beast Mode,” which really got the crowd going. The energy from Barely Alive’s set indefinitely carried over. One of our favorite tracks during Cookie’s set included his new single “Them” which is an absolute wonk fest. Other filthy tracks played by the legend included his other recent single “Eliminate Target” and by far our favorite new Cookie Monsta song “Ruff.” Our crew is constantly playing this song throughout the day, and it was surreal being able to hear it live. Both drops were bonkers to say the least. You can imagine how loud the Fillmore’s soundsystem got when they let the Nottingham producer on stage. The energy was actually extremely aggressive. Everywhere you looked you could see some anxious raver gritting their teeth while viciously waving their fist in the air. Or if you were as into the set as we were, you were probably frantically banging your fists against the rail during the heaviest parts of this madman’s set.

       Cookie Monsta didn’t hold back on Charlotte for a single second. When he played his 2016 hit “Dem Girlz” we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Oh yeah, Cookie dropped a huge crowd favorite as well. Have you heard his reggae-ish dub “Soundboy? He also played some of his Circus Records homies’ music; like his remix of Flux Pavilion’s collab with Jarren Benton, “Party Drink Smoke” and an incredibly vivid remix of Funtcase and Modestep’s infamous collab “Damian.” Best of all, he even supported our city by dropping Ivory’s remix of the Queen city superstar, Crowell & his Riddim homie, Bommer’s infamous single, Yasuo. Ivory’s remix is that Wizuo fire. If we had to say one sentence about the entire show, it would be “Cookie Monsta was our favorite set of the night.”

EXCISION

       This set was by far one of the coolest Excision performances we’ve ever seen. Our first Xperience was in 2012 during the Executioner tour with Paper Diamond. That show was absolutely bonkers, and it was actually the 3rd rave we ever went to (after Bassnectar in Greensboro, and Pretty Lights in Raleigh). To this day we’ve been huge Excision supporters. Some of our friends argue that Excision at Moonrise in 2016 was one of his greatest sets of all time. We don’t disagree, that set was actually really inspiring and clean cut. But Excision also killed it at Imagine Festival, and his set at Voodoo Festival was also pretty wonky. But there was something truly special about his 2017 show in Charlotte, NC that made us want to write about it. Let’s break down Excision’s Paradox set post release of his newest album, Virus.

         The Paradox, as many of you know, is Excision’s latest visual experience for all of his live performances. It’s basically several LED panels, (maybe 100? don’t quote us on this)that all sync up perfectly to display some insane visuals that match up every song during his set, except for the parts where he goes off the books and just plays whatever. We’ve got a video for you all below so you can get a good idea as to what it all looked like. It actually shows how his set kicked off. (Keep reading for full length videos 🙂

(Thank you Travis Z. for the video).

    The new album is legendary; it has so many incredible singles and if you’ve heard it, then we’re sure you wanted to see what kind of wonky visuals would accompany them during the live show. We knew Charlotte was beyond ready for the audio firepower that was to come. As far as new songs go, Excision played tracks like Death Wish and G Shit which got the crowd really amped. But the tracks that got us swingin’ fists were definitely “Rave Thing,” his remix of “My Boo with Dion Timmer (during the drop of course), and by Jeff did we freak out when he played “Throwin Elbows.” Because of how beautiful the visuals were, we felt the need to share a video. Our buddy Kenny grabbed this awesome video of his hit “Harambe,” honoring the fallen Gorilla who sparked a worldwide meme. Warning, sound quality isn’t the best, but f*ck it, there’s a giant gorilla giving you the bird on a 20 foot screen!

       But wait, there’s more. Excision also shed some light on his homies by playing songs by some of Dubstep’s leading producers. We can’t begin to tell you how much Charlotte loved hearing Datsik’sSensei;” the 20 foot tall ninjas chopping with their swords made the whole show 10 times cooler. Also, Downlink’s new song “Most Pit” is absolutely filthy; can you imagine what this would sound like with that soundsystem? Oh and not to mention a classic by Zomboy. Excision decided to pay homage to the Penzance badmon by dropping “Lights Out.” We also remember hearing the “One More Time” mashup by Phiso. And of course, he would play “Swipe My Swords” by The Frim. Oh yeah and what’s a Dubstep show without playing Skrillex and Rick Ross‘ “Purple Lamborghini” while bringing out a giant dinosaur on stage? Check it out in the video below!

       Let’s keep this going, just one paragraph longer, we promise we’re almost through. Excision performed a lot more than what we’ve mentioned. Tracks like “Africa,” where a giant group of Lions, Tigers, Rhinos and Giraffes all marched across the Paradox screen as the drop came in; and Neck Brace which was really, really intense, and ironically worked out in favor of the merch booth which was selling actual neckbraces. And of course everyone had fun when he dropped “Virus.” Thank you for such a wild night Excision. Feel free to come back to Charlotte sooner than February of 2018. See you at some festival somewhere sometime.

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Thanks For Stopping By!

–   Zyven