Red Bull Sound Select Yearender With Anamanaguchi, Mystery Skulls and Wrestlers Trees, Dallas Thursday, December 18, 2014
It was damn cold Thursday night, but an intensely spirited crowd still came out and filled Trees for the second night of Red Bull Sound Select's massive Yearender blowout. After hosting the first night on Wednesday across the street at Club Dada, they brought in Anamanaguchi, an instrumental electronic band from New York City who did the soundtrack for a video game and raised an obscene amount of money for their Endless Fantasy album via Kickstarter. Everyone danced with reckless abandon. One lady even vomited on several people as she walked across the room. It was a good night.
This Yearender event was curated by Parade of Flesh, and Parade of Flesh went balls out. A shitload of balloons was dropped into the crowd at the end of the night, the show was ridiculously bright and roses were handed to the audience from the stage. There were even arcade games available for play -- and not randomly picked machines, either. There was good shit like Street Fighter 2. A few people got sucked into a video game they hadn't played in years and missed the show.
Did I mention everyone danced? If you weren't dancing, you were trying to get away from someone who was. It was a rowdy event with a unique atmosphere. This show forced everyone to put their phones in their pockets and pay attention to their surroundings.
This event was meticulously planned and flawlessly coordinated. The night flew by. Many stuck around after Anamanaguchi left, to dance on popped balloons and roses or play video games. Some stood outside the club to process what just happened.
Luis Dubuc aka Mystery Skulls had played an energetic set before Anamanguchi. He lives in Los Angeles but reminded the crowd he used to live in Dallas. He was clearly having a good time, happy to be at Trees and enjoying the audience's company. He kept busy, showing real chops with his vocals, singing at a ferocious pace and rarely stopping for air. The light show was so colorful that it was hard to see him at times.
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Mystery Skulls' music essentially mimics the structure of 90s R&B with EDM ("Don't call it that!") and futuristic noises. The beats are simple and used sparingly, but they are effective and easily remembered. The vocals are lots of fun, not dissimilar to Chromeo or Prince. Dubuc, a songwriter and producer who works in a variety of genres, was very well received by the crowd.
But people lost their minds when Anamanaguchi came out. It was like catnip for hipsters. The music was incredibly loud and aggressive with a pop sensibility. But the genius is in adding video game sounds to the music, specifically old video games noises from old video games on ancient consoles like the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Atari, perhaps even Vectrex. This is the special ingredient that makes nerds go crazy.
Anamanaguchi put on an exhilarating performance, a rush of blood to the head. The songs were fast and short, like punk rock made out of candy, the musical equivalent of having dessert for dinner. The band was unquestionably rocking out on their video game rock and the crowd responded. People who are too large to be crowd surfing were crowd surfing. A few climbed up on stage, took an obligatory iPhone photo and dove back into the crowd.
Towards the end, when the balloons were released, people tore them apart, like giving Ozzy Osbourne a puppy onstage. Even the enormous silver balloons that spelled YEARENDER were ripped off the wall, torn apart, and stomped on. The crowd was at a fever pitch, people on the stage were ceremonially passing roses to the audience for some reason, and then it was over.
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Parade of Flesh was in top form with this event, creating an environment so unique and wonderful it makes you scratch your head. A Parade of Flesh show could never be confused with a show from another promoter. The energy of large crowds is typically unspecific and less energetic, but this was something special, a concert that would be an energy drink if it were a beverage.
Indeed, this bash was a fitting way for Red Bull Sound Select to call it a year in Dallas. With the help of local curators, they brought large crowds to see acts as various as Fucked Up, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Curren$y, The Octopus Project, and JEFF the Brotherhood. Job well done, guys.
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