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SILENT RAVE: NEW YORK+   1 comment

me at the silent rave

me at the silent rave

A man in a large costume that resembles a jar of mustard runs past me. As his yellow figure bobs oddly through a throng of sweaty, pubescent ravers, the crowd erupts into a cacophony of cheers. Somewhere, a voice shouts out. “Mustard man! Mustard Man!”. Then, a Japanese guy in a hat expertly designed in the figure of a chicken floats past. He spreads a pair of thin arms wide.
“Who wants to suck my cock?” he shouts. Behind me, a group of guys giggle. I stand in this chaos, snapping photos and floating quietly through the crowd. That’s the most interesting thing about this experience. Around me, hundreds of people are dancing excitedly. Bodies covered in sweat glisten under dimly lit New York street lamps. Tiny emo girls toss their dyed hair back and forth, strange shirtless guys do very homo erotic dances, and guys like the chicken man—there are a few of them around—all prance around, dancing to some quiet, unheard music. This is because they are dancing to their own music.
I’m at my first silent rave.
To see hundreds of people dancing with their telltale ipod headphones in their ears, all grinding to their own beat, is like seeing a music video on TV with the mute button on. But not only am I in this music video, but I’m an active participant, snapping photos, not trying to brush against too many of the girls present (many of them are teenagers). This would probably count as the second rave I’ve been to in the states. Like all raves, there are tons of very attractive women.
To my left, a Heidi Klum look alike wearing headphones straight out of an 80’s movie grooves beside her equally hot Asian friend. In front of me, a tall red head makes me think immediately of Berlin. All around, cute teeny-boppers, people with shaved heads, tatoos and t-shirts that read “I love NY” are all dancing.

Raving, in complete silence.
The silence is broken by screams which have no purpose. In rave music, people normally scream when the bass drops. Like most music, rave incorporates a specific tempo that keeps the crowd going for hours on end, ecstasy, cocaine or no. After a minute or so of the introductory song loop, a bass kick drops. This is where people scream and dance faster. Tonight, people are raving telephathically. The bass kicks in on one person’s headphones, and they broadcast it to everyone else with a scream. This spreads through the crowd like wildfire—people jump, run around and even mosh—and then the silence falls once more.
There is a natural tendency for human beings to feel threatened in the presence of large groups. If you’ve ever attended a large arena where a fight started, you might have “felt” a ripple through the collective consciousness of those present. You sense the anguish of those around you, you are caught in the bubble. For a moment, you and the crowd are one. Tonight is one of those nights.
I slip on my headphones and start playing a few trance tracks from a top 100 album I have. Almost instantly, I am in the bubble. As the sounds of voices, screams and bodies hopping around fades, I am part of the collective. All I hear are the snares, break beats and heavy basses while I look through my own personal windshield. Somewhere, a conga-line starts, and dozens of people begin sprinting in a sweeiping arc around the other ravers. For a second my radar gets tweaked. I get sensation of danger again. The groups of bodies darting through the crowd resemble the scene of a brawl. Bodies moving rapidly, touching, colliding. But the feeling subsides. These people are all here to have fun. They are happy being separate yet close.

A part of me wishes the rave was louder. At least I would have more to say.

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