According to some old-school electronic fans and long-time Jacksonville residents with whom I’ve spoken, the late ’90s yielded quite the boomin’ rave scene for our massively conservative city. It seemed the private, palpitating pavement (and totally illegal thanks to often violated capacity limits and the drug culture sometimes associated) jive had fallen low — on the way down low, that is — existing mostly in remote forests and extremely clandestine, last-minute locales.
Perhaps I’ve just been misinformed, perhaps I’m just tragically unhip to the electronica culture (sorry, I’m 1980s college rock at heart), but it seems like this rave thing has taken a turn for an upswing. At least in a mainstream sense, that is.
The night floated so frigid that one quiet exhale resulted in a hot puff of air that may linger for a fraction of a second but inside the unnamed warehouse unit that glowed with chemiluminescence was muggy with sweaty, dancing bodies.
My electronica-aficionado roommate helped me dress the part Jan. 8 — complete with a tutu, an MKDNA-painted jacket, a lamb ears headband and a face plastered with rhinestones — to investigate this so-called “rave” Facebook-slated to take place.
That, right there, the fact that the event was heavily publicized via an absurdly popular social networking Web site might lend proof to how Jacksonville’s rave scene has undergone a serious make-over — one not necessarily worth bragging about. Instead of a city vogue enough — or perhaps just interested enough — to pull off packing out an out-of-the-way warehouse unit to such a degree via only word-of-mouth, 11th-hour invites, Actionville’s forced to resort to claustrophobic, conventional means to spread the word weeks in advance. Regardless, cheers to this city for pulling off such a kick-ass, cop-free party.
Within the warehouse’s concrete walls, an ocean of people moved like a flip-book’s illustration mid-flip in accordance to the beat-heavy speaker blasts. Neon colors bedazzled the crowd like some exotic foliage from a different planet. A cast of young DJs of varying levels of expertise (I’m told) manned the MacBooks oozing dub step and electro-house. Zero personal space was present, but nobody much minded.
For the most part, the crowd seemed to be comprised almost entirely of exactly the people you wouldn’t expect — as in, beach kids, Shantytown rats, Coldplay fans. … But instead of the awkwardness you’d expect from the mottling of such ill-matched microcultures, the motley crew all looked the same beneath the strobe.
Not to say that quite the array of experienced trance tramps didn’t exist. Because there certainly were.
One dude took it upon himself to yank a green glow stick from my hand midair and maintain eye contact with me as he pressed his teeth through the tube’s plastic and shook its contents all over himself, me and other select individuals.
He wasn’t the only one to take a bite out of the celebratory sticks littering the space and its floor. However, according to every professor’s preferred source for all things factual, Wikipedia, the liquid living within the illuminated rods ranks as a level three mutagen and has the capacity of melting some types of plastic.
Neat, huh? Should one find some of that chemical concoction flowing from the sometimes omnipresent glow sticks onto bare skin, raver rumor has it you ought to survive once all washed off, but do avoid getting the juice in any orifices. That’s when things can get nasty.
Not that I’m insinuating a kind of warning/reassurance to any Ospreys out there that may or may not have attended the secretive shindig this past weekend. Nope, not at all.