Article | Onlythebeat

6 Reasons Local EDM Shows Are Still Relevant

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Colin Rinehart

There's been quite a bit of talk this year about the growing festival scene: "Are festivals worth going to?" "When will the festival line-ups not be the same all across the board?" "Are the artists performing at the festival showcasing their talents or just their most recent "banger?" "Is it a bubble waiting to be popped by sky high ticket prices and out of the way, destination locations?" "Will it be a waste of my money to spend $400 on THIS festival ticket, when I could wait 5 months and go to THAT festival instead?" "If I go to this festival, will people actually listen to the music, or will it just be a collection of college bros who had 7 too many drinks and pill popping teenagers?" Woah. That's a lot of stress and a lot of press just to find out whether a certain festival is even a viable option for you. If only there was a way to experience the festival on a smaller scale. If only there was a different way to get a feel for the artist you're going to see so you can make sure you enjoy their music before you shell out a month's paycheck in minimum wages to go see them halfway across the country. Every weekend, in almost every major city, there are countless performances by up-and-coming and established DJs. I live about 20 minutes outside of Austin, TX. In the past two weeks alone, I've had the opportunity to see big name artists such as R3hab, Bro Safari, Borgore, and Dada Life. I didn't even have to go to Austin to see Borgore. He came to my town of about 50,000 people and played at an old movie theater. I, myself, have never been to an EDM music festival. I've experienced the grandeur that is The Warped Tour, in all of it's pre- and post-teen overheated, sweaty glory. I've been to Marley Festival, a reggae festival in Austin. I've never experienced Ultra or EDC, but I'm going to outline why I enjoy small venue shows with 1-4 artists. This isn't an editorial about how much better than festivals a small venue show can be. They're merely my observations as to why I have enjoyed, and why you may as well enjoy, almost all of my local concert experiences when it comes to EDM.

6 Reasons Why Local EDM Shows Are Still Relevant

1) You can hear music from artists who may not be able to play at larger events.

The headliner will almost always be well known locally. The opening acts are quite often a lesser known DJ or artist who in my experience can sometimes, if not often, outperform their headliner when it comes to reading a crowd and making that crowd move. This may be because the headliner is more interested in playing their biggest hits that they know the crowd wants to hear, while the opening act is more interested in making sure the crowd has a good time and remembers their name. I've found many of the artists I write about on my track posts by going to a show for a more widely known artist, and finding a golden nugget amidst a pile of bronze.

2) It's really easy to go to a small venue show last minute.

Unless the show gets sold out, it's fairly easy to be sitting at home bored on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night with nothing to do. But, you can look up your local EDM shows, take a quick trip to the nearest venue, pay $20 for a ticket or entry to the club, and have a crazy night. (If you live in Texas, I highly recommend Rage Texas' event calendar. If you don't, there is probably a similar site more local to where you are.) I've done this countless times with my friends and it never lets me down as a reliable fail safe for a party falling through, or everyone you know is being lame and not wanting to party at all. To reiterate my previous point: these last minute shows are the ones you're most likely going to find that gold nugget artist at.

3) Depending on the number of performers, their set times are most likely longer than at your average festival.

This is my only point that will be made in comparison to a large music festival. There's been mention, even in our own posts here at OTB, that set times of one hour are simply inadequate to exhibit the talent and ability of a DJ. If you've ever played a set yourself, you know how difficult it is to get a full range of emotion and a real ride out of the audience with just 60 minutes. With smaller venues come fewer artists...sometimes as few as one artist. In the event of a one artist show, you have a solid three to four hours of a single pilot taking you on a pilgrimage across the expanse of your mind and smearing your feelings all over the dance floor.

4) You can leave and not miss anything.

Okay I lied. This one is pretty much a comparison to festivals as well. I'm not sure what the policy is on leaving festivals and coming back later that same day. I do know that the few times I've been to an EDM show and not enjoyed myself, I've left. No fear on missing out on the next act, no fear of wasting hundreds of dollars on a lost experience, and the bar district in Austin is a block away from most of the nightclubs. So I can at least go get a pitcher of whiskey and coke to drown my failed experience in.

5) The connections you make continue.

When you meet someone at a local venue, chances are that they live fairly close by. I've met countless people at shows in my day. Some of those people I never saw again. Some I see at every single show I go to because we have the same taste in music and great minds think alike.

6) They usually don't search you at the door.

I'll let you figure out why this is a good thing. Whether or not you prefer massive festivals, or single artist shows, small venue events can be a great way to spend a night, and an effective way to find new music and meet new people. They can be planned weeks in advance, or you can decide to go to one 15 minutes before it starts. You can go with a bunch of friends, make your friends there, or have a solo experience. No matter which way you slice it, it's going to be a good time. In the words of one of the greatest mustaches of the 20th century, "Thats the way it is."