Crizzly Underwhelms At Opera
Walking into Opera is somehow a surprise every time. I never know if the room is going to be full of kandi-koated rave kids, the VIP blazer and slacks crowd, or a mix of festival fam and the club crowd. As I walked in for the Crizzly Crizzmas event, it soon became apparent that this was a full night with the ravers and EDM kids downstairs and the VIP Litfam McBruhs keeping to themselves on the upper balcony. The only real mingling that occurred was when a few people in VIP decided to rain champagne and dollar bills down on the peasants below. I was happy to be underneath the balcony where I couldn’t get unrequested showers from the bourgeoisie upstairs, and I still managed to snag a free dollar bill as they floated down.
Tea N Jelly opened up the night with a fairly standard mix of club EDM. This was the debut of the newly formed trio (Michael Abernathy, Zach Debroka (DEBROKA) and Kyle Van Riper (KVR)). Before I say anything negative, let me just say that I’ve seen Debroka sets that I absolutely loved, and I know he’s a solid producer. As a trio, I think these guys need a little more time to gel, as the set felt disjointed and pandering. At a few points, it felt like the attention of the crowd strayed, and so they would just throw out a banger to get the audience’s attention back. I refer to this as the “That Was Easy” button, as seen in Staples’ TV commercials. It left me unimpressed, as I so often am with EDM DJs who can’t hold together an hour of storytelling and just end up switching around in familiar territory to please the crowd. The other disappointing element was that the crowd seemed to have no idea how to enjoy themselves unless there was a hard bass drop happening, so in between those moments of familiar excitement, there were lots of people just standing around looking at each other from behind their kandi masks, wondering what to do. What little vibe there was was maintained by paid dancers on the platform in the middle of the crowd.
I had really wanted to see Crizzly because he had been one of my favorite performances at Imagine Festival 2015. I’m not sure if my tastes have changed or if the mood was just different, but I didn’t feel that same energy from his show at Opera. At the beginning of his set, I thought I heard him say he was drunk, but he later denied that, so maybe the vibe was just off behind the decks.. At one point he played “Black Beatles” and tried to tell everyone to stop moving. Even his own hype guy kept moving around on stage, just a bit slower than before. So, his mannequin challenge basically got ignored by the entire crowd at Opera. His well-known inflatable pizza slice sat on stage until about halfway through the set, when people started surfing on it out over the crowd. It was a fun set at a few times, but honestly, really was just a bunch of EDM hits I’ve been hearing for the last year along with some of his own remixes. Crizzly is a really fun and unique producer, so it was a shame to see him underdeliver on this night. Needless to say, my opinion of Crizzly changed after this performance, but I know he has talent, so hopefully he’ll surprise me again in the future. In the meantime, I maintain my position that the wheels are coming off the EDM wagon.