Splendor XR, the world’s first virtual reality concert

After a couple of hours, this will make me feel very sick and I will need an intermittent stretching schedule. And this without clicking once on the ads that offer to bring alcohol to the basement door in real time.

Music? For sure. All pre-filmed exclusively for SXR, the unwashed rocket racket from Skegss’s screens at the Amphitheater, Pink Sweats ’soft orchestral R&B at GW McLennan. Shot up close in a studio somewhere, Phoebe Bridgers ’confessional acoustic ensemble is fantastic. Dr. Karl’s lecture on global warming in the Forum tent? “Yeah, I’m fine,” an avatar repeats beside me as he engages in doing something more rude.


Yes, we can talk to each other, but I never find out how or why I repeatedly hear that kind of cartoon cow, but I can’t tune in to the aubergine’s conversation with the little lady pixie at the Vera Blue concert. A kind Frenchman explains how I can get my own lightsaber, but the weird skinny lizard doesn’t want to meet me, despite being the only other avatar from the Poof Doof disco.

I could say more about music, but you know what they say about festivals. It doesn’t matter who plays; it’s about being there. Here, ironically given the global reach of the virtual community, is where an event like SXR can only alleviate compared to RL.

Tonight, for example, Tash Sultana and Denzel Curry are probably huge cards. However, you can’t hear that buzz, because there are only 50 people in any virtual space; each space was repeated and repopulated in layers of parallel universes and accordingly, this is sufficient with the technical limitations of the game world’s transmission technology.

The effect is that each stage looks like the party is somewhere else. The occasional roar of a crowd is as compelling as a sitcom laugh theme. There’s a spectacular crowd of NPCs (non-player characters) crawling up the hill, but it looks like they’ve been cut and hooked by a particularly sad zombie game. Only one of them dances. When they play Methyl Ethyl, I count about 300.

If I feel good enough to venture into the world during the second day, with due respect for the Killers and the Avalanches and Amyl and the Sniffers (I feel like Charli XCX has prepared something amazing), it won’t be to satiate me. my longing for live music that the pandemic has stolen so cruelly. It will be to try to upgrade my robot feet to a flying bowl of ramen like that little cat I had at the Client Liaison concert.

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