Last Saturday, the 6th Element tour touched down at Williams College, offering six hours of audio-visual overstimulation to all who cared to partake – and a lot of us did. With electronic music blaring from Goodrich Hall and Lasell Gymnasium from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. and an 18-wheeler’s worth of lighting and effects, the 6th Element was the largest event of its kind the campus has ever seen. The party drew a wildly mixed crowd, with Williams students (ravers and otherwise), locals and college kids from as far away as U-Mass and SUNY-Albany joining forces for a night of pure hedonism.
The doors to Goodrich opened at 9 p.m. and showcased the talent of Williams DJs Jeremy Rothe-Kushel ’01, Jewelz (Julian Fang ’01), 1212 (Josh Burns ’02) and Dan Shirai 00. The night kicked off with downtempo, chilled-out vibes in the first two sets, then started to heat up as 1212 dropped some fun-filled house beats. Shirai kept the energy up during his set, Kool DJ Herc shook things up with some phat dancehall MCing, and the two of them kept Goodrich and Lasell jumping till around midnight, when Cirrus blew up down in the large gymnasium.
Everyone I’ve spoken with says Cirrus was definitely the highlight of the evening, and it’s easy to tell why. While some people find it difficult to really get into the groove when it’s just a DJ spinning, everyone can identify with a live band.
Cirrus is a unique act in the world of electronic music, a band that melds live guitar and drums with samplers and turntables to create a high-energy techno performance that drives crowds berserk. With fog swirling so thickly you couldn’t see, soap bubbles air-bursting and lights spinning and strobing with wild abandon, Lasell was more of a warehouse party than some actual warehouse parties I’ve been to. The intensity of the normally sedate Williams student body had to be seen to be believed. All hands were in the air; all bodies were jumping frenetically.
I must admit, however, that although I spent at most ten minutes at the Cirrus performance, I don’t feel I missed out on anything because when the crowd migrated from Goodrich to Lasell, it missed a real treat.
After Shirai finished his set, Michelle Saint took over on the decks and spun an hour and a half of some of the darkest, hardest drum ’n bass I have ever thrashed and flailed to. With the BPMs accelerating way up over 150, the “good time” party atmosphere of the previous sets gave way to an air of menace and danger. While I can see why people preferred to see Cirrus, the few junglists who remained upstairs to hear Michelle rinse it out found themselves with ample reason and plenty of space to go absolutely nuts. We leapt, spun, sparred and growled as the beats possessed us, and at one point I dreamed that I was a tiger, I think. The music is magic.
After Michelle’s set, Goodrich was done for. Deejay Punk Roc had the 1:30 to 3:00 a.m. time slot, and he spun to a large crowd of nobody. The movement en masse to Lasell was never reversed as Sandra Collins, trance DJ extraordinaire and the party’s true headliner, took over after Cirrus and held the crowd firmly in her thrall.
With her seamless mixing of emotional, high-energy trance beats, Sandra kept us all moving for the entirety of her set. When fast beats gave way to soothing sonic washes and finally to silence, it was as though the window to a more perfect world had gently and reluctantly swung closed.