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After seeing Excision on the Paradox Tour for the first time almost exactly one year ago today, I was over the moon when I heard he would be coming back for the Apex Tour, to celebrate the release of his latest album (which I’ve listened to too many times to count) - along with He$h, Tynan, Squnto, Sullivan King, Gammer, Bro Safari, and Virtual Riot. If that isn’t a stacked lineup, then I don’t know what is. But I attended the Minneapolis show - and bigger cities are bringing so many bigger names, such as Figure, Kompany, Barely Alive, Wooli, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Downlink, Dion Timmer and more. Each show is proving to be one epic mashup of all things bass, and this weekend was no different.
We arrived right at doors and headed into the massive venue that sold out at around 8000 people. This was almost double the crowd of the Paradox Tour in Minneapolis last year. So within minutes, the rail was packed... So much for spending all night up front like last year. There really was no wait time either, right at 8pm the bass began.
He$h really started the night off right, bringing the drops and chops and getting the crowd moving, and by the end of his set, people were already piled up to the back of the venue. I made it about halfway through Tynan’s set before calling it quits up front, and heading back where there was room to move. I usually have more fun when I’m not shoulder-to-shoulder and overheating... In all honesty, I think the Armory way oversold this show, because by the end of the night, that “room to move” was the back 10ft of the venue.
Sullivan King’s and Squnto’s B2B was when things really picked up, I had the room to let the headbanger in me out while seeing one of my favorite artists live for the very first time. There's a “chance” I teared up a little when Sullivan King came out. Whoops. I’m not sorry about it. I do wish he would have sang more though...
By the end of their set, I was warmed up to the crowd, unbothered by the handful of funny looks I was getting, one heck of a happy camper (having gotten over the anxiety brought on by being packed in so tightly the hour before), and ready to fly solo. This happens at just about every show I go to... I arrive with a couple of friends, have every intention of sticking with them, and wind up not always wanting the same things out of the night. Being up on the rail and caught in the mosh pits can be fun and all, especially at the smaller shows, but I always find myself happier running around and meeting new people who match my vibe; and that is exactly what happened.
Most of Gammer’s set was spent trying to get some water and into the bathroom; the lines were almost non-existent, it was the fact that people were moving shoulder-to-shoulder in trains no matter where you went. From what I did see and hear, it was a really good set that released a lot of the aggressive vibes brought in by the previous sets. You could still feel the energy, and it kept the crowd moving; but it simply felt SO much lighter. I’m assuming that was on purpose, so all of us could catch a little break.
Bro Safari was nothing like I expected, and granted, I’ve only listened to a few of his songs, but from that I was assuming there would be a much darker, weirder vibe. Instead, it was a good introduction to what Virtual Riot was about to bring! Quite honestly, I would have been happy either way.
After seeing Virtual Riot headline a show just a couple of months back, where he had the entire crowd headbanging together, I had pretty high expectations... And he definitely met them all. At this point, my rave fam also seemed to have had enough of the tight crowd and the bad vibes that made its way up to the rail (some people can’t seem to be able to accept the fact that there simply isn’t room), so they made their way to the back as well, with a pit stop at the merch stand, and eventually finding me off in my own little world.
At this point I was running on caffeine and adrenaline, so the break between Virtual Riot and Excision was much appreciated. I took the chance to catch up with my friends and sit down for a minute before the final run of the night. I’m not sure if it was because I was so far back, had already experienced the reveal once, or because I had such high expectations with all the room this venue allowed; but the curtain drop just wasn’t what I had pictured. There wasn’t the same jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing awe that the Paradox Tour brought.
That being said - the new (and very, very detailed) visuals were insane, I could feel the bass throughout my entire body, and being able to truly watch the lasers was an experience all of its own.
I danced out every last bit of energy I had, stopped to watch my friends enjoy their night for a minute, raged with some amazing people who I never got the names of, sang (screamed) along when “Gold” played, and teared up once more when Sullivan King came out during “Wake Up”.
The entire night, ups and downs aside, was an amazing experience. In my honest opinion, though, because the collab “Gold” between Illenium and Excision that got so huge, so fast, it brought a vastly different crowd than for the Paradox Tour. Were the headbangers still out in full force? Absolutely. But I’m hoping that next year’s tour (assuming there is one) will go back to the old ways, where the whole crowd is ready to rage, not just a part of it.