To those outside the world of EDM, a warehouse out in the East Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn may seem an odd place for one of the world’s fastest-rising DJs (and Substream #60 cover star) Marshmello to perform. On the outside, Avant Gardner – which was initially advertised to fans simply as “Marshmello Warehouse” – was any other brick-faced building, but inside was a different story. Frigid January temperatures didn’t stop eager fans – known as the “Mellogang” – from lining up well in advance of the door time, and while there was a coat check available inside, most seemed to keep the outerwear minimal. This is a party, after all; the Mellogang seemed to have reached a consensus that braving the cold outdoors was worth it in order to be able to rush right to the stage.
Once inside, all fifteen thousand square feet of Avant Gardner’s Great Hall was transformed into a new world. Dubbed “Melloville”, it was an organized and well-executed event (all in attendance were given RFID wristbands that would easily link to a credit card for streamlined drink and merchandise purchases), but most notable was the all-consuming excitement present from the moment the night began. Though opening acts Mime and Yultron showed promise of one day leading the crowd for a headlining set, it was clear – from the crowd’s attire to the chatter during quiet moments between songs – that everyone was there for Marshmello.
There has long been speculation on Marshmello’s identity, with fans and critics wondering who is inside that iconic white helmet; just before he took the stage, a clip played on screen that appeared to reveal that he is, in fact, Will Ferrell (we’re not saying Ferrell is or isn’t the man behind the mask, but have you ever seen the two in a room together?). The laughs subsided and soon Marshmello took the stage, as an inescapable wash of joy – and brightly colored light – filled the room. An LED panel arced over the stage, lit up as a rainbow with a sign in the middle proclaiming, “Welcome to Melloville.” Melloville may have been a place that existed just for a few hours, but it was one that nobody wanted to leave.
Throughout his 90 minute set, he performed several songs from his 2016 album Joytime, as well as recent solo singles (like “You & Me”, which saw him take to the front of the stage, microphone in hand, and sing every word) and collaborations. Midway through the set, Marshmello was joined on stage by Slushii, who donned a teal and pink Mello helmet for his performance. Fans in attendance were in for a treat, as the duo is sometimes known as “Slushmello” performed their as-of-yet unreleased song “There X2”.; as in “You & Me”, Marshmello took the vocal lead. He performed several other collaborations, like his Khalid collaboration “Silence”, which went over well with the enthusiastic crowd, and the sweeping “Wolves”, which features Selena Gomez; but more notable was his posthumous Lil Peep collaboration, “Spotlight.” There was something haunting about seeing the room aglow in red light, yet there was a sense of comfort throughout if we can feel pain, isolation, and heartbreak so deeply, surely the bliss can resound just as intensely when its time comes.
If all of this has you excited and intrigued in seeing Marshmello for yourself you’re in luck: he is currently on the road, and has several shows all over North America in the coming months, including a performance with Lil Pump in Los Angeles and a stop at the legendary Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Denver. Marshmello’s shows tend to sell out though, so pick up your tickets in advance. For a full list of upcoming shows and links to purchase tickets, head to his website.
All photos were taken by Nick Karp.