808 State - 03/24/1993

808 State 1993

I was never really a fan of 808 State, but you can probably see from the ticket why I was at this show. Meat Beat Manifesto in central Florida = ticket purchase for me in the 90s.

808 State has always been synonymous with generic rave music for me, and there's no denying that "Cubik" became the club anthem that hundreds of other groups, djs, and producers would later emulate to death. Information Society even ripped 808 State off! There's nothing quite like a band that is known for not only one song, but one HOOK and 808 State were definitely that band.

I know they've done a lot of other things and that some of it is probably worth listening to, but just as the multitudes of fans stream into an arena to see the Rolling Stones play "Satisfaction", it seemed like most folks who went to see 808 State knew only of one track--"Cubik". That situation was helped by the fact that the track had been released so many times, remixed so many ways, and ripped off by so many people that it was hard for the band to ever be thought of as anything else.

I have to admit that hearing the hook from "Cubik" over a loud-ass PA with lots of strobe lights was kind of fun. I didn't get into most of their set but I could tell that it was very well done techno. Having grown up around the rave culture but never myself immersed in it, I was a bit of an oddball at these shows.

Almost every record I owned in 1993 was heavily steeped in the world of electronic dance music. I went to clubs weekly and I was friends with DJs who would later go on to make a pretty respectable living outside of the world of central Florida clubs. I shopped at stores that catered to ravers and I could rattle off the names of top DJs, albums, songs, remixes, pieces of gear, and venues related to the rave world at the time. Still--I was a real outsider when it came to the core tennants of the culture which were drugs, repetitive music, and DJ worship. I knew more about most of that stuff than most people outside of the rave world, I just didn't care all that much. I always thought that the drug aspect ruined the music, that the all-night parties were so one-note as to be mind-numbing, and that DJs were essential parts to the puzzle, but that they weren't as important as the musicians making the records and that there was somehow a very real and important difference between the two.

Shows like this one that brought the rave culture to a more structured club event/concert were pretty frequent in those days and around this time I started hearing kids at school talk about how they spent their weekends going to "raves" when they really just meant that they went to see a DJ spin at the Masquarade and left by 2 AM. The whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way, so I never got into the bands that were at the forefront of the scene. I liked Orbital, but never bought any of their albums. I could listen to the Orb, but I was never blown away by it. Even when Aphex Twin started showing up with those early tracks, I dismissed most of it as just more techno to clog up the club nights I went to where I wanted to hear the newest Front Line Assembly record! Just after this tour was when MTV would catch wind of the next wave of techno superstars--the Chemical Brothers, the Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, and the Crystal Method--and suddenly I'd find myself growing even more distant from the scene. Somehow though, Meat Beat Manifesto was lurking strangely in the middle and that kept me from ever leaving clubland altogehter.