Digital emotion at the Phoenix

Loud, rhythmic music vibrated the inside of the Phoenix Theater as a teenage crowd gathered around the DJ table on Friday night. The Phoenix is a small theater with one main stage, walls covered in graffiti art and arcade games: a haven for teenagers. 

The first performance was by “Diynosaurs,” a new and upcoming trio of DJs from Santa Rosa, who were clad in homemade cardboard dinosaur heads while playing music from three sound tables. This was the opening performance, so the DJs had set themselves up in the center of a small room in which the audience had gathered around. 

A member of the audience, Eric, who did not disclose his last name, described Diynosaur’s music as “experimental, textural and atmospheric.” 

The majority of the music was based on the mixing of different beats, sounds and distorted noises. However, when lyrics were involved, one of the DJs used a muffled megaphone. To distort some of the noises, another DJ used the rim of wine glasses to create a humming vibration in addition to the beat. 

“We all went to school together and had a mutual interest in music,” said the Diynosaurs. 

The group spoke of the inspiration of their music being the transition from crazy sounds to a cohesive beat. 

“We would describe our music as funk, swag, velocity, post-music, experimental and industrial,” said one member of the group.

Diynosaurs said most of the instruments they remix on their tables were their own creation, and they spend a lot of time creating the right sound. 

They said they were very excited for the chance to play at more venues. Currently, most of their shows are held at C454 V0ltron and the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa.

After Diynosaurs, the main performance by the solo DJ, Stirling, took main stage. As soon as he began to mix his music, the crowd flocked to the dance floor in front of the stage. Stirling’s music had a beat similar to that of a drum with intermittent long hums and chime-like sounds.

During some of his pieces, he would start with a soothing, piano-like tone and then drop the bass to create a vibrating drumming which was almost tribal-esque. All of his music was created with only one sound table. 

Stirling would move to his own beat; swaying to the music which was almost mirrored by the engrossed and captivated crowd. 

Kate Houser, a member of the crowd and local teenager, described the performance: “It was so completely awesome, it felt totally out of this world, as I’m sure you could tell by my dancing.” 

The Phoenix itself is a well-known destination for the teenage population of Petaluma. It is obvious the theater is multipurpose, as there were skateboarding ramps along the walls and a small arcade near the front entrance. 

The audience of the performances were almost all teenagers, which a specific punk, indie feel to the crowd. The regulars to the Phoenix express themselves with the art lining the walls and the support for the local upcoming artists.

Music by Diynosaurs can be found on their website, diynosaur.neocities.org.