If you’ve never been to an EDM show you should know that it’s quite a different experience from a typical rock show. The lights, pyrotechnics, and endless confetti are as much a part of the experience as the music itself; but perhaps the most powerful thing about it is how all in attendance seem to form a deep- if temporary- shared connection. EDM festivals like Electric Forest or Electric Zoo allow ravers to fully immerse themselves in the culture they know and love, but there’s something special about a mixed-genre festival like the annual Billboard Hot 100 Festival that introduces a new class of fans to dance music culture. This year, the second day wrapped up with back-to-back main stage performances from Marshmello and Major Lazer.
For a genre not typically known for its lyrics, there’s something powerful about a DJ that’s able to create an emotional connection with fans. Marshmello’s “Alone” repeats the same brief refrain for its entirety- “I’m so alone, nothing feels like home / I’m so alone, trying to find my way back home to you”- but in a crowd of 15,000 people, those words were all it took to make sure no one felt alone in their loneliness.
Is dance music, especially in a festival setting, overwhelming at times? Sure- but there’s also something wonderfully pure about feeling music that resonates in your bones as it does in your soul, as in the closing track (and his newest hit), the Khalid collaboration “Silence”. There’s also something undeniably fun: in addition to a remix of San Holo’s “Light”, Marshmello also dropped Bon Jovi’s classic “Livin’ On A Prayer”, Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch”, and Adele’s “Hello.”
If Marshmello showed the crowd the emotional power of dance music, Major Lazer were there to close things off with an all-out party. Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire performed a set that was chaotic but calculated, every step planned out yet feeling unexpected. Jillionaire took to the catwalk in front of the stage to be even closer to fans, while Diplo alternately shot streamers and tossed branded towels in to the crowd.
Major Lazer’s back-up dancers stuck mostly to the risers at the back of the stage (though they did take to the front for some drumming), though the stars of the show were the DJs themselves. August is now drawing to a close with Labor Day right around the corner, and from older tracks (like their take on Enur’s “Calabria 2008”) to the latest hits, their set was the perfect chance to “party like it’s the last night of summer right here.”
Marshmello is on the road for a variety of festival and headlining sets around the globe; keep up with all of his upcoming performances on his website. Major Lazer will also be taking the stage at a variety of festivals worldwide; keep up with all of their upcoming performances on their Facebook page.