On Friday, Oct. 18, there was no cohesion to be found in the lobby of The Met Philadelphia. A man in a skeleton bodysuit chatted with a girl in ripped jeans and a ratty t–shirt. A 30–something in a pink pin–covered bucket hat and oversized black sweatshirt stood in the drinks line in front of a college–aged girl in head to toe tie dye. The only sprinklings of aesthetic unity were in the glow stick accessories and light up goggles worn by many attendees, emulating Rezz's signature look.
Isabelle Rezazadeh, professionally known as Rezz, is a Canadian DJ and record producer who started out in the gritty Toronto music scene at the age of 16. After releasing her fourth EP earlier this year, Rezz embarked on her international "Beyond the Senses" tour, making her thirteenth stop at The Met.
The night began with a flare of red lights and the sound of LA–based DJ and producer BlackGummy’s first song. Without saying a single word in his hour–long set, BlackGummy, known for his industrial–style techno beats, kept the audience moving without truly hyping them up, a good choice for the first of the night’s three acts.
He couldn't have been more different than Peekaboo, the second of the two openers, who burst onto the stage with a “You guys fucking ready or not?!” and “This place is so fuckin' awesome!” Filled with infinite energy, Peekaboo jumped and spun around the stage, always communicating with the audience as a handful of background graphics played on loop throughout his 75–minute set. Finishing with a couple of unreleased tracks, Peekaboo left the stage. The audience now filled the dance floor, spilling onto the aisles of all three levels of the Met, bursting with anticipation for what was to come.
Just a few minutes later, amid chants of “I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready,” from the audience, Rezz climbed to the top of the elevated platform. Without a word, she captured the audience from the first beat. Save for her signature goggles, Rezz looked like a shadow against the bright contrast of the screen behind her, which glowed with linear patterns and satanic imagery.
To the beat of the music, her shadow began to jump and sway as if she were an extension of the sound waves thumping out of the speakers. She twisted and slid across the podium as if she were not a victim to the friction that grounds us all, her arms seeming to dance through the hazy air. Like all shadows, Rezz was a specter of few words. Besides her greeting of “Philly, what up?” and her exclamation of how much she “[loves] this venue, man,” Rezz let her music fill the cavernous space.
She set the tone of the night early on, with the phrases “Your soul will never be released” and “Don’t trust your minds” flashing on the screen behind her.With every beat shaking the floor of the old opera house, Rezz hypnotized her audience. She introduced them to a new world that only existed in that building for that hour. Along with the flashing geometric designs on the screen, blue and white spotlights spun in dizzy circles across the theater. People flailed around amid the glow of the black and white spirals projected across the space. The songs were distinctive, but maintained a coherent flow.
Intoxicated by their newfound hypnotic freedom, people wandered in and out of the pit and explored their Met–shaped playground. As all tickets were general admission, some attendees set up camp in the boxes of the grand stalls, while others made their way up and formed a second dance floor on the balcony between the lodge and the mezzanine. People climbed on top of each other’s shoulders and danced in the aisles, while others sat in the back row and embraced the music in silence.
Whether they wore leather and latex or jeans and a t–shirt, the audience was united by their Rezz–induced trance. As the concert came to a close, attendees poured onto the alley, shouting and piling into cars and taxis. And even in those cars, which blared the sounds of Top 40 radio, that sense of hypnotic community persisted.