A Night Of Firsts
At 9PM Saturday night, I clocked out of my every day sales job. I traded in a business casual demeanor for a pair of fishnets and purple lipstick and left for Monarch Theatre in Downtown Phoenix for a night that would be one of the most unique of my life.
I arrived a little bit after the start of the Relentless Beats show, halfway through the first set of the night. Arizona born and raised, DJ SnickyMike was performing at his first Relentless Beats show. The crowd was already growing and the bartenders were hard at work. “Yeah, this is gonna sell out” someone tells me. SnickyMike warmed the crowd up perfectly. One would never guess it was one of his first live performance. Each track flowed seamlessly in to the next and the graphics on the screen created quite the visual trip to match the music. I had only listened to his music for the first time 6 hours prior and I was thoroughly impressed. Watching how energetic and talented he was in person, I suddenly became a fan. Even better, we had already made plans to chat after his set.
UK based LAXX came whirling in like a hurricane. From the first blast of bass, the audience automatically bounced under the lights. $13 mixed drinks fell on the ground so the hands that held them could be in the air. Just from the heat of the moving bodies, you could say the temperature in the club was competing with the temperature outside. The vibes at Monarch at that moment were amazing.
Heading out front in search of a quieter atmosphere, I was on a mission to talk to everyone wearing something furry because anyone wearing a bear hat in the Arizona summer deserves a medal. Matt Kruelle was the first person to catch my eye. He wasn’t familiar with any of the artists on the bill but he knew Relentless Beats puts on quality shows and he was invited by a friend who was a Boombox Cartel fan. “Might as well just put on a furry vest and have a good time!” he stated after dancing up a storm during SnickyMike’s set.
I then saw SnickyMike outside being greeted by friends and new admirers. I introduced myself to him and we talked about his experience. Michael McLaughlin is a life-long Arizona resident, though he’s also spent time in Nevada and Illinois briefly. He’s been going to these types of shows since he was 16 but started making his own music at the end of 2014.
“What was the moment you first realized that you didn’t just want to listen to this music, but that you wanted to make your own?”
“I was at a concert, I don’t even remember exactly who it was. But all of a sudden I noticed the people and the looks on their faces. How they just forgot about their worries and their life and just danced. I realized that I wanted to do that for everyone.”
He quit his job delivering pizza to commit himself full time to his music and working with Relentless Beats. Selling merch and checking IDs at their shows are just a few of the things he’s done in the past 9 months. But all the hard work is paying off because he’s opening here tonight and has future plans starting to come together.
“Hey, can you make sure to put something in your article for me? Make sure to put in there how grateful I am to Relentless Beats and everyone who helped me be here tonight. I couldn’t have done this alone and I’ll never forget a single person who helped me these days.”
DJ SnickyMike kicks off his residency at BAC Lounge in Tempe on July 14th.
My next interaction was with a guy who goes by D-Dub and his girlfriend who reviews rave shows, just like I was doing for my first time that night. They had been to many events and had a lot of ideas and tips. I took their advice on asking attendees what the acronym PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect), which everyone in the rave scene is familiar with, means to them.
“PLUR to me is when everyone in my setting is getting along. Different people, different cultures and everyone is just happy to be with each other, just like tonight.” Quoted a man who happened to be fresh out of military basic training and out for a night with his childhood best friend. My favorite response to my question came from an anonymous fan who simply stated “PLUR to me is…acceptance.” At that instance I looked around and realized the group I was surrounded by was the one of the most progressive I had been around. Race, age, gender, and any other “preferences” were set aside as everyone at the venue had learned to get along.
Going back inside, LAXX had just finished and Boombox Cartel was seconds away from laying down the dirty bass they’re known for. The club was, quite literally, packed; wall to wall with people. For the remainder of the night, I observed with a wide smile at the diversity of attendees and it made me realize how influential the music scene can actually be. If you have any interest in the positive progression of society and enjoy listening to energetic EDM songs, then check out the official Relentless Beats events listing. They will be back at Monarch Saturday, July 2nd to feature Trollphace & Lumberjvck. Get your tickets here.