One does not simply go to an Illenium show casually. Furthermore, one does not simply go to an Illenium show after a casual Christmas get together, say “I’ll see you all in a few hours”, and expect to make it through the show the way they arrived. However I did just that and enjoyed an amazing few hours of sensory overload with a community of well costumed and energized fans. There were glowing Yeti men, elves with glowing shoes and hats, and every assortment of merch possible with added lighting effects and custom colors. As I said, one really shouldn’t just casually go to an Illenium show, but I would not judge one for doing so because it’s fantastic.
Up first to bat came Dabin, a DJ I was extremely curious to hear and admittedly got a bit excited about because for a moment I thought he had my last name for his name. I was as expected but sadly let down when I did a double take and it was not the case. Dabin was a prime choice for an opener to Said the Sky and Illenium. I had no expectations having only seen his name on the set times hours before, but I was optimistic. Dabin is a mellow and easy to follow type of electronic. If you’re wanting to ease into a light show and dance party as you begin to settle into the vibe for a show he hits the spot. Songs like Hold and Fressol are solid songs to get a feel for Dabin’s style and also overall great songs you can throw on and even a less knowledge EDM fan would enjoy. Between solid vocally driven songs which are my favorite, some great guitar riffing mix ups, and a laid back kick off to the night Dabin nailed his opening set.
I won’t lie about this, I came for Illenium, but I was the most impressed by Said the Sky. Doesn’t hurt I am a sucker for some snare drums with gated feedback either. I’d listened to a few of his tracks earlier in the week having never seen his name before. Wow did I miss the memo on this one. If you’re like me and out of the loop go listen to Fire and Where’d You Go. These two songs were when I think anyone who was still getting their energy for the show were finally awakened. Said the Sky is a solid DJ, but what added to his set was the amount of energy and crowd involvement. You can only say so much to a crowd beyond the usual phrases to evoke response. But Said the Sky’s energy was clearly contagious. I had to stop a few times to absorb the music and watch the crowd at times nearly lose their minds when the styles went from classic poppy to trap style bass drops. Said the Sky, I heard you. I saw you. I am with you, good stuff.
Sufficiently amped up at this point from the 5 hour I took and the sensory injection I experienced for the first 2 sets it was finally time to see the man everyone was there for. It was also time for me to understand what in the world the massive future style table was that had all Illenium’s mixing gear on it. Answer, it’s a massive clear plexiglas desk that allowed even those closest to the stage to see as he moved from table top mixing to the 6 piece setup behind him to play from.
I won’t claim to know Illenium as a devout fan, frankly there is too much EDM and too many genres to keep track of all the music each DJ produces. But I will say I had high hopes after hearing some new and old tracks since I last tried to cover his show, but missed it due to illness. There was no disappointment. Paving the way for an awesome night of sing and dance along tracks were Where’d U Go, Feel Good, and Beautiful Creatures. Beautiful Creatures maybe being my favorite, solid vocals and of course the drums coming into play made it a crowd favorite for sure. Illenium was also when I was hoping to see the light show pick up that night. And wow did it pick up quick. Images as proof, but there was WAY more lights hiding on stage for Illenium than I had seen during the two openers and they were put to great use. Light guy, you’re one of the night’s MVPs. That and the creator of that “desk” thing because I couldn’t have seen Illenium otherwise from so close.
The good, I LOVED finally seeing Illenium’s show and his openers are bound to do some great things if they keep to their styles and grind.
The bad, I am SO mad I was sick for the last Illenium show because I know it would have been an amazing time.
The lesson, you too can take a break from a holiday bash to go get your eyes, ears, and mind blown away by EDM. Just prepare appropriately for the come down when you leave and are in the quiet of your car all alone.