Candy Ravers

America’s dance music learning curve: from furry boots and glow sticks to enlightenment

by • March 5, 2013 • EventsComments (0)319

Candy Ravers
You’re all probably sick and tired of hearing about the ‘dance explosion’ in America. Even Frankie Wilde can probably hear all of the new ravers donning their furry boots and glow sticks to head for festivals nationwide. Now that we are past the initial shock that US kids finally gave up Vans Warped Tour to go to Ultra, it’s time for them to learn. Based on the progress we have seen so far, the future is bright.

So first let’s do a brief recap of how we reached this point. You know the story, but bear with us. Techno and house music started in America, but somewhere along the way, the States lost their groove. We came upon a dance depression in the U.S. What thrived in warehouses and basements of Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, and even Washington DC stayed there for a good 20 years. Sure you and I may have experienced it and thought our scene was big and flourishing, but trust us, it was nothing compared to how those crazy Europeans were developing the genre. In the UK, farm raves outside of the cities led by the likes of Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim and more were too wild even for the police. From Holland to Italy, the gabbers were literally destroying cities (which still haven’t been rebuilt). In the German streets, the techno viking was conquering beats. Out of this disheveled scene that became a lifestyle, legendary names and places sprung up from Egypt to Ireland. Clubs like the Hacienda, Space Ibiza, and Ministry of Sound set the stage for what was to come. By the time electronic dance music came of age in Europe, Tiesto, PVD, Cox, Oakenfold and crew were selling out stadiums. All the while the U.S. of A. was listening to Nickleback.

(Incase it’s been a while…)

So finally the Blink-182 and Britney crazes subsided, and Kid Rock is laying in a gutter somewhere. Sure progressive house had been taking over big rooms in the early-ish 2000s, and the underground scene was thriving in small ones, but commercially, nothing did it like Avicii. Just one Swede, and commercial America hasn’t looked back.

avicii“Levels” was released to the world late 2010. Obviously that tune didn’t break the US dance scene, but it sure got Wall Street to start writing checks. America’s beer has gone from endorsing stock cars to Swedish techno, every Mickey Mouse tune on the radio is electronic and the coolest new job has something to do with a nightclub. Maybe a girl had to do with it, maybe not, but corporate America has definitely found Molly.

Now that we have said the obvious let’s take a look at whats actually going on in today’s dance scene. Over the past year we have seen ‘One Last Tour’ never end and hopefully the death of American dubstep. Not that we have anything against the sub-bass, but we don’t think the Croydon crew meant for Dubstep to become a synonym for YOLO. To be optomistic I guess it’s a small price to pay in order for dance music to make it on the US commerical airwaves. Now that ‘EDM’ made it to the Grammys and sold out Madison Square Garden, and of course, the coolest high school haircut models Skrillex, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Richie Hawtin CNTRL

Richie Hawtin and co. during the Cntrl: Beyond EDM lecture at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota

To each their own, but fad genres seem to finally be fading out. With a huge U.S. success of Paris’ and Berlin’s techno rebirth, Uk’s garage throwbacks, and LA’s grime house, we are seeing the real roots of dance heading back to the top. As promoters pay more attention to small artists really influencing the scene, the heavyweight teams of Guetta and types lose fans daily. You know something great is happening when techno king Richie Hawtin goes on a college tour with the intention of educating students about dance music. America is learning fast the ins and outs of dance productions, and won’t put up for the crap anymore. Disclosure’s widely popular US tour has sold out some of the most esteemed East Coast Venues, UMF has yet again brought a stage dedicated entirely to ‘underground’ producers, and Austin’s famed SXSW is now the place for DJs to meet and greet. Oh yeah, and this is all in the next month. This summer looks to be very exciting for dance fans. Local legends will shoot to international headliners, and small town fests will become rave massives.

One by one, kids are turning in their furry neon rave boots and glow sticks for something a bit more sensible, and cluing themselves into music with substance. As events like Movment Detroit and The BPM Festival are attracting more interest than ever, we see only a bright future for the the umbrella genre. It’s time to abandon the dumbed-down cheese and bring home some real substance as the mainstage for electronic music. See you on the dance floor America.

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