As we walked into the gates of Wobbleland in (San Jose, Calif.) on a recent Friday I couldn't help but notice the swarm of ravers donning the same trendy merch from their favorite artists: Black “Snails” shirts that have “#VOMITSQUAD” on the back and white images of snails on the sleeves, Japanese lettering and shuriken with “RONIN” on the back of the white Datsik shirts. Then there's all the sacred geometry printed over the black Damascus shirts. The few people who did wear color could be spotted from the back of the venue. Now considering this was a dubstep show and not a psytrance event, it's understandable why there was a lack of color and homemade outfits. But this wasn't the only difference I saw.
At rave in the U.S.—that is, not in Europe—it's common for people to show up with their “squad” and stay with them the whole show. Most of these younger ravers react to the music according to cultural relevance; when a DJ uses politically savvy visuals or pokes fun at modern topics. They jerk their bodies to the nasty vibrations and make stinky faces as their bodies wiggle to the bass-heavy drops.
Last Saturday night (Feb. 25) I went to A-Bun-Dance on Spring Street in Los Angeles and met many folks from Arizona since this event organizer hosts pre-parties for Gem and Jam Fest in Tucson. Here we had a unique blend of handmade outfits and jewelry sold by local merchants and often traded among attendees. The ideas that these crafts have become trendy, and various alterations are sold by many artists, it still comes from a relatively “underground” source instead of an established brand: sparkly hoods connected by a gold chain, or furry canes with crystal balls on top, and, of course, massive amounts of intricately wire-wrapped gems.
The people danced and reacted to each other much more like the European crowds; with grace and flow. Ultimately, I love both scenes (Euro and stateside) equally as they both warmly welcome outsiders and are eager to see each part of the scene grow. At all events I see both crowds intermingling regardless of the differences. We come together to create a community where ideas thrive and humanity as a trait survives. No shit.
*Zion Crosby is Bing Crosby's great-grandson, was raised by Jack Klugman, and Tucson is his new honorary home.