No sweat: Skrillex showers Cargo crowd with one-off magic

Tahoe Onstage

Skrillex moistens Cargo Concert Hall in Reno on Saturday, July 20.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage photos

Before a packed room – the fastest sellout ever of a Cargo Concert Hall show – EDM artist Skrillex stepped onstage on a hot Saturday night, taking his place behind an LED-fringed platform among pieces of large sculptures, and fired into an explosive set.

With the producer’s Las Vegas club residency beginning the next day, the Cargo show was a an exception to the performer’s schedule. Considering that on his last trip through the area he sold out the Reno’s Downtown Events Center, the 1,000-person Cargo venue had the air of a special performance from the beginning. And the intentionally short-notice for tickets didn’t discourage those from as far away as the Bay Area from quickly snapping up tickets for the show.

By the time Skrillex took the stage, the room was packed, and even with the club’s AC blasting, the number of bodies all pushing to the front – most adorned in Playa-ready short shorts, bathing suits, jewels and masks – the temperature was enough to make everyone drip with sweat.

Comparisons to the Playa may only be fitting. Skrillex – a frequent performer out at the Black Rock Desert during the annual Burning Man Festival – made his Reno stop a fundraiser for The Pier Group. The collection of artists has built several large-scale sculptures for the festival, most notably the “Space Whale,” which currently sits on display in downtown Reno’s Mapes Plaza.

The group plans to construct a 40-foot tall interactive meditating-mind sculpture called “The Head Maze” for this year’s event.

As for Skrillex’s performance, his 2-hour set shuffled feverishly through a wide selection of his material, including two new songs, “Fuji Opener” and “Mumbai Power,” from a new EP. Hitting his fast-paced beat, and not letting up throughout, sweat ran off of his face as he bounced behind the decks. At one point, he stood atop the platform and showered the audience in water.

Finally, at about 1 a.m., the sound dropped, and the lights, which had been a hysteric seizure-inducing display, dimmed as the house lights came on.

Despite being a smaller city on the scale of musical tours, sometimes Reno is prime for having these moments that will be discussed into the future. Those lucky enough to get tickets, which were sold out only a couple hours after the sale opening, were treated to one of those performances on Saturday, July 20, 2019.

That’s when one of the DJs who has been at the top of the EDM and Dubstep game —  and can often be found headlining festivals or playing massive venues — came to town and put on an energetic club show in a 1,000-person capacity standing-room only venue.

— Shaun Astor

About Shaun Astor

Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations. Check out his work at

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