May 5, 2013
Cinco de Mayo typically is spent sipping margaritas and throwing back Corona or Dos Equis, but El Santo added one more treat to the festivities: Porter Robinson.
It was my first time at El Santo, where the turnout was impressive. At this kind of event, one can only assume that not everyone was there to see the artist, but midway through Robinson's first song, the crowd got on board with the 20-year-old DJ superstar from North Carolina.
El Santo, a pool and patio bar, had everyone in swimsuits, although no one seemed to be in the pool once Robinson took to the decks at 4:30 p.m. The stage was small compared to the pool and dancing area. But Porter demolished it with his beats. Next year, El Santo management and staff should probably consider a bigger stage.
Last time Robinson brought a crowd this big was July at the Marquee. I wasn't there, but several people who were told me the show was amazing and hot. I guess Robinson's way of repaying the Phoenix area was giving them a pool option this time, just in case things got a little too warm.
The set, overall, murdered everyone's face: The crowd was surprised by their own enjoyment, and their faces just couldn't keep up with the intoxicating emotions the music brought out.
Robinson's progressions were hard, melodic, and unpredictable all at once. He could take a fast-paced, upbeat song and turn it into a slower, more sensual R&B beat within seconds. All his talents were displayed across a variety of EDM subgenres; electrohouse, progressive house, dubstep, moombahton, and even trance beats kept the party going.
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Songs from such artists as Knife Party, M83, Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner, Alex Metric and even more came spewing from the El Santo sound systems -- with a Robinson twist, of course. (Yes, my ears are still ringing.) The sound system complemented the DJ's talents and thumbed beats headed toward Scottsdale Airport.
By the time Robinson dropped his chart-topping hit, "Easy," the crowd had lost it. Fist pumps and chaotic dancing, whether solo or rubbing rumps up against someone else, were the only way the crowd knew how to respond.
Robinson played a long set -- about three hours. He danced around, throwing his sweaty hair one way and then another. (He wore a Pokémon necklace of Eevee that bounced around just as he did.) He filled El Santo with EDM glory and may have just added a new necessity to every Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Critics Notebook: Last Night (or day): Porter Robinson at El Santo. The Crowd: Of course, your typical Scottsdale crowd and Cinco de Mayo celebrators were there. But don't let me forget those guys with the chest tattoos of a dragon or tribal signs. (I wonder if they got them together?) Overheard in the crowd: "I want Porter to wear my sombrero, because he's Brazilian, right?" While that seems like a completely valid reason, Robinson isn't Brazilian and sombreros are worn mainly in Mexico. Random Notebook Dump: Well, Porter just ripped me a new earhole. Another Random Notebook Dump: I wonder how much douchebag sweat was dripped or flung onto me just from being on the dance floor? Personal Bias: Okay, so it's not my typical crowd. I would much rather be within a more rave-like setting. But I cannot deny the power and methods of Robinson's music madness.