Porter Robinson sells out Beta

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This past Saturday, Porter Robinson spun a high-energy set to a sold-out Beta nightclub crowd in Uptown Waterloo. The 19-year-old electronic virtuoso exuded enthusiasm as he dropped fragment after fragment of electro-house music into his mix at a frenetic pace. With a full capacity of keenly interested youth responding to the big-room sounds of a world-class DJ, one could be forgiven for forgetting that they were watching the show unfold in a provincial, medium-sized city in Southwestern Ontario.

Robinson’s set provided a balanced mix of mainstream and lesser-known electro-house tracks to keep the audience moving. But the young DJ was not content to simply play track-after-track in sequence. Robinson went far beyond a glorified iPod Shuffle, using his Traktor Kontrol S4-enabled Macbook Pro to seamlessly blend, mix and synchronize tracks into a coherent musical production.

Surprisingly, he was able to accomplish this coherence even when mixing tracks which seem to contradict each other on the surface. A particularly notable example of this was when Robinson combined his first smash hit “Say My Name,” released this summer, with Deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon,” released last year on Deadmau5’s 4×4=12 LP. I never imagined any context where these two tracks would be merged into one, and yet Robinson’s rendition worked amazingly well. Another unlikely musical coupling he was able to pull off came out of Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” with Wolfgang Garter and Deadmau5’s “Animal Rights.”

Other musical highlights included Daft Punk’s classic “One More Time,” fellow prodigy Zedd’s new release “Shave it”, and the Knife Party remix of Robinson’s own “Unison,” released on his first EP (titled Spitfire) this past September. As usual for shows at Beta, the visual display matched the musical performance with its complexity, elegance and intensity.

In some ways, Beta and Porter Robinson are very similar: both are young, successful forces in the electronic music world, who draw huge crowds to sold-out shows. Unfortunately, the rumour mill has been ablaze with reports of Beta’s imminent closing following the denial of their latest application for a liquor license from the AGCO. Hopefully, Beta will continue to provide epic shows and fantastic experiences for electronic music fans and world-class DJs alike. After his set, Robinson took to his Twitter, claiming the night “was in the top 5 shows for me, and I’ve performed 152 times in the last year.”


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