Friday night, throngs of fans flooded into the TD Garden (Home of the Celtics and Bruins) to see the Swedish sensation known as Avicii. Over the past two weeks, the EDM community has been tossing and turning over the popularization of the genre.
Last week, following the conclusion of EDM’s big weekend and the publishing of a stirring Wall Street Journal article bringing into question the validity of EDM’s stadium-sized headliners, the Australian blog, In The Mix, wrote an extremely critical article of the commercialization of EDM in America.
While I completely agreed that the likes of David Guetta and Calvin Harris were watering down house, I did not really understand why this mattered. If you didn’t want to listen to it, no one made you.
After going to Avicii, I get it. It isn’t just about the music being degraded; it’s about the crowds.
Just to give you a brief idea of the kind of people who are hurting the culture, when I got off the T, a group of drunk teenage girls were humming “Levels.” Throughout the night, I would occasionally meet someone who I thought would give me respite from the hoardes of Avicii fans who couldn’t name a song besides “Levels.” But then, I was sadly disappointed when throwing names like Alesso and Zedd left them unable to carry the conversation forward.
I’m sure there were people at the event who are genuine EDM fans (I know EDMBoston was on the scene), but the majority of Avicii’s audience just did not fall into that category.
Besides the fans, the show was actually quite fun. There wasn’t a CGI Avicii, but he did stand atop the giant white head that he debuted at Coachella.
His whole rig is really quite something. The designers did an incredible job with the projections. Avicii is certainly not the first in the EDM world to utilize 3D projection mapping, but The Le7els Tour did it really well.
As I expected, Avicii’s set was rather predictable. He ran through a myriad of his biggest hits (including playing “Levels” twice), but on the other hand he did throw in a few nice surprises like Ivan Gough’s massive track, “In My Mind” (it’s one of my favorite songs so this was really exciting for me).
While the crowed went nuts for Avicii, I can’t really blame him for not putting on the show of his life; he did just come from a week in Vegas and EDC. And anyways, had he done anything real, the crowed just would not have reacted well. They were singing the wrong words when he mashed up Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used To Know” with “Le7els.” He may be doing what he needs to do in order to keep his audience happy, but I still blame Tim for not just doing an awesome set and playing to a smaller venue that actually knows what EDM is.
I’m sure many of you are reading this in complete disagreement and asking who is Tim. I know EDM is supposed to be an all inclusive community and I will say I agree with David Guetta when he said that the longtime fans shouldn’t try to keep the movement to themselves (and they can’t); however, pandering to the masses to speed up the revolution is not the answer. These Producer’s became famous for their ability to well…DJ. It would be incredible to see them actually start creating their sounds live like Deadmua5 and Carl Cox.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Avicii wasn’t fun and I don’t regret going in any way. The concert was actually rather exciting and I’ll admit it, I sang along when he played his remix of “Save the World.” You just need to have the right mindset. Avicii isn’t going to be a rager like Aoki’s shows and you won’t see a whole lot of die-hard EDM fans. But, if you haven’t seen him, it’s not a bad way to spend a friday night.