Disclaimer: This is not going to be our usual style of review since, well it wasn’t my usual kind of night.
TCM was signed up to cover Illenium’s show at the Skyway Theatre Saturday night. I had a photographer all lined up, and we were good to go. Then he got sick a few hours before the show. A quick scramble and look a peoples’ schedules, and I took over covering the show myself. Big shout out to the Skyway for accommodating our last minute change!
To set the scene, I am probably twice the age of most people that will attend an Illenium show. I enjoy EDM but find myself a bit like a guy that’s rambling that no good rock’n roll was made past the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Oakenfold, van Buren, Tiesto – love their stuff, but haven’t really made a connection with many of the newer artists.
I had a show booked at 11PM at the Icehouse and figured with doors at 8 I would have plenty of time to cover both shows. I showed up at the Skyway at 9PM and DJs were playing in both the main room and in Studio B but the crowd was light. I asked what time Illenium would start and was told 12.30 AM. I guess Grandpa had shown up at the hip local restaurant way early asking for the blue plate special………..
Alright, scramble, look at set times, work out a plan. I left; was able to cover both bands at the Icehouse, and was back at the Skyway promptly at 1230. Holy crap! It could hot have been any more different. There was a number of fans outside smoking, many dressed to dance and NOT for a Minnesota evening in March. Inside, the main floor was jam packed. I can move through most crowds with ease but this one was a bit different. Kids were sitting on the floor on the side and I got to do a bit of a dance working my way through legs to the stage entrance. Fans were respecting each others boundaries but I may have pushed a few of those trying to make my way through (forgive my ignorance).
LEDs could be found aplenty, gloves, hats, ears, masks and even a couple of hula hoops. I have not idea if anyone had enough room to use the latter. Illenium had just taken the stage and the party was in full swing. Venue staff work their way through the pit dispensing water to thirsty fans. Dancers worked the stage for a few songs. Of course, hundreds of phones were raised. CO2 blasts erupted and probably helped lower the temperature. Illenium and a DJ were behind a massive set of gear surrounded by all sorts of lights and a projection wall.
And then, suddenly, the new EDM music I wasn’t getting, fell into place. Dropping the bass, something lost on me when listening at home or in the car, felt great surrounded by a live audience. The energy from the crowd surged back to the performers in a way I had not experienced at any of the other concerts I have covered over the years. It felt like Illenium adjusted his set to audience their mood changed (or he’s really good at anticipating those changes). All in all, my first “modern” EDM show took me by surprise and I enjoyed the heck out of it. So you kids at the Skyway, be ready! Gramps will be back!