Shock creates an inclusive and intimate environment for both the audience and the performers.
On Jan. 24, the Vanguard hosted Shock, a festival for up and coming EDM artists. The venue was small and dark, with just a few clusters of people standing on one side of the room staring at their feet and bobbing their heads slightly with their eyes closed. It felt different than the other usual concerts around Tulsa; as much as there was intense electronic dance music playing, there wasn’t any hyping up or vibrant anticipation.
The audience consisted of EDM-lovers chilling out and living in the present. Even though Shock wasn’t a big festival, there was a special notion in the room: Shock cultivated an atmosphere that reminded me of the first time discovering something awesome and keeping it a secret from everyone else, tucked away for personal pleasure, and having that nostalgia after the night is over. As much as the event was public for anyone looking for a good time with background music, the event felt private and not for the faint of heart, as it was for people who loved the grittier side of music with a booming bass.
Shock had a lineup consisting of young EDM artists going up to the music board, letting their creativity flow through as they pulled apart and mixed each song together. Each musician went up one at a time without any silence between sessions. Instead, they carried the previous song and gave their own spin on it, transitioning into their set. None of the artists seemed to compete with each other, instead owning their individuality, being united by their love for EDM.
One artist that stood out went by the stage name “Tapps” (stylized as TVPPS). Before he went on, TVPPS was fidgeting around with his headphones, walking slowly up and down the edge of the dance floor. He finally stopped and stood parallel to the music board. For a brief moment he was silent with his hands in his pockets; it almost looked like he was calculating how to capture lightning in a bottle. When it was his turn to take the stage, he was still calm and collected, but ready to strike.
At first he eased his way into it, using the last song from the previous set to establish his flow. TVPPS built into the intense bass drops and whimsical melodies that seeped through the entire venue. The audience really started to take notice at that point. It was incredible to see him behind the music board working with the music as well as engaging with the audience.
However, there were a few special moments where TVPPS was lost in a trance, feeling the beat under his skin and having the music rush through his veins. He was electric. In those few moments, it was him against the music with his passion igniting his way through the darkness of the Vanguard. Every time he put his hands in the air and closed his eyes, it felt like he was the only one in the room, and time stopped only to be interrupted by the next bombastic bass drop.
Shock was an impressive concert overall. It’s the little concerts at The Vanguard that really capture the love of music as well as providing overall support for upcoming artists.