Decibel Festival Rocks Seattle
The city long known for its grunge scene was taken over by music of the more digital persuasion with the ninth inception of the Decibel music festival, which went down in Seattle from September 26 through 30.
Fest headliners included electronic royalty Orbital, who gave an energetic and much-buzzed about performance on Thursday evening, the same night that Mimosa and womp purveyors Tipper and Starkey headlined the Bass Cadets showcase that found heavy beats shaking the foundation of waterside venue the Market. The Cannabinoids feat. Eryakah Badu played an electro-funk infused set that was one of the festival’s most memorable performances. Badu showed audiences her experimental electronic project, which was infused with her iconic voice and stage presence.
Ariel Pink, Kimbra, DJ Shadow and Carl Craig also headlined Decibel, which featured shows from nearly 200 artists in addition to programming that included lectures, panel discussions, audiovisual screenings, and a series of after hour events that kept fans dancing until the early hours of the morning. A trio of daytime boat parties brought attendees out to sea with artists including Starslinger, Starkey and Ripperton.
LA-based Brainfeeder favorite Nosaj Thing did his thing at intimate venue Baltic on Friday for a late night show worth waiting for. That same evening, New York’s The Knocks layed down a pop-infused highly danceable set as part of the Decadence showcase, which also featured up and comers Dragonette. On Saturday, EDM icon DJ Shadow thrilled audiences as the headliner of the Pioneers of Rhythm showcase, which also featured Bonobo and Epron.
Sunday night found a mellower vibe at The Alligator, arguably the festival’s standout venue, with a stunner set from – based Belle Anomie. The vocally charged group opened for the master of ambient intensity Emancipator, who played a set that dipped heavily from his best work including safe in the Steep Cliffs and Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build a Fire. The show’s climax found Emancipator dropping in hip hop vocals and boosting the layers of electric violin that is one of his signature sounds.
Sunday evening also featured the legendary John Talabot playing a much-anticipated performance, which received rave reviews from old fans and newbies alike. On the same evening, Shlohmo destroyed the Baltic as the headliner of the solid Friends of Friends showcase.
Among the nation’s few urban festivals, Decibel was spread throughout Seattle in a variety of historic venues, clubs, bars and theaters. The festival has established itself as a forerunner in the electro world and in the past has hosted now massive acts including Flying Lotus, Justice, Diplo, Boys Noize and Deadmau5. With its 2012 edition, Decibel again proved itself an expertly curated mélange of classic and upcoming talent, with equally well-chosen acts in all EDM realms. The festival continued its reputation as one of the nation’s premiere events for seeing EDM idols and up and comers alike. The only problem really was that there was too much to choose from.