Relentless Beats

My First EDM Event at The Van Buren: SubDocta & Barely Alive

I have lived in Phoenix on and off since early 2019. In that time, I have mostly attended EDM events at venues such as Darkstar and Sunbar in Tempe, Arizona. I recently attended my first electronic music event at Phoenix’s The Van Buren to see SubDocta/Barely Alive. The show took place on Saturday, March 2nd with opening sets from YDG and Villa. Villa got things started with some wonky tunes, a Linkin Park remix, and plenty of bass. Her dark purple aesthetic shined through while adding theme and depth to her set. There were plenty of notable head-banging moments as well.

Next up was YDG, who played a heavy, horror-inspired set with Jason Vorhees visuals among other slasher stars. He flipped several popular hits and had the whole crowd head-banging in unison. Several individuals in the crowd were playing with flowstars near me and my neighbor, which greatly added to the good vibes already in progress. The acoustics were excellent in every part of the venue. Not a bad spot in the house.

YDG Friday The 13th Jason Visuals

SubDocta was the act that my neighbor and I most anticipated seeing at this event. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. The Wild West theme of The Left For Dead EP was capitalized on during his set. There were loads of visuals depicting a vibrant cotton candy desert with cactus and spiky peaks galore.

SubDocta’s set was FANTASTIC. He played an extensive amount of genres, even diving into some Drum & Bass, much to the crowd’s delight. Everyone was having a good time dancing with their fellow ravers. SD’s set featured several extended songs that were more progressive in nature, often breaking away from conventional song structure. These songs featured so many little squeaks, clicks, and changes. SubDocta had our full attention with these surprise extended tracks. He really stole the show and his set was well worth the price of admission. SD’s set had me and my neighbor constantly asking why and how SD crafted such an intricate set. Everyone in the crowd was hugging and high-fiving each other while constantly cheering for the “West Coast Wobble” expert himself. There were plenty of classic dubstep songs worthy of head-banging to balance out the more progressive side of the set. SD is a multi-genre master, who is an expert at effortlessly mixing lights, sounds, and visuals to create an unforgettable experience. See him live ASAP.

Barely Alive started things off HEAVY while wearing his patented, glowing microwave/cassette tape helmet (depending on interpretation) as leopard visuals right out of a Miami nightclub flashed behind him. A number in the corner corresponded with each visual element, switching back and forth at will. Other aesthetic elements included animated crayon drawings and 80s/90s-inspired songs and visuals. The bass was BEEFY and had the crowd firing on all cylinders. A lively cover of “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins caught us off guard and had us dancing, eventually bringing us to a heavy drop to contrast with the track’s melodic vocals. Numerous other songs from a similar era were flipped as well. BA’s sound was very digital and nostalgic, sonically reminiscent of classic EDM from the late 2000s, with an added 80s/90s visual and auditory flair.

The acoustics of The Van Buren are perfect for the blaring bass and intense visual nature of the EDM genre. There is not a bad spot in the house. The sound is even crisp while standing in the lobby of the building, or waiting at the venue’s bar for refreshments. As a claustrophobic raver, I appreciated the extensive amount of floor space that The Van Buren contains. It is very easy to switch spots and find a place more comfortable. I loved that the event was so close to me as well. It was just a short light rail ride away, with a walk down a few blocks of Van Buren St. Nothing too major. I would definitely attend another EDM event here if artists that I like are scheduled to perform. Go check out this venue at your earliest convenience.

Connect with Barely Alive: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify | Soundcloud

Connect with SubDocta: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify | SoundCloud

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