–By Marie Taylor
–Photos by Ryan Ledesma
If you weren’t at The Scottrade Center on Thursday, May 18th enjoying the music of The Chainsmokers with the opening acts of DJ Whethan and Kiiara, you can probably still hear out of both ears. Just kidding about the hearing loss, but if you were not at the event then you missed out on a lively night of electronic pop music that had high energy and yes, some incredibly deep bass. Honestly though, I have no idea how those DJs do it night after night without more hearing issues. (Maybe they have some secrets I can steal for future shows.)
Electronic Dance Music (EDM) was the flavor of music for the whole night, and as I had never been to a concert that consisted entirely of EDM music I was intrigued to see how pre-recorded music worked a live event such as a concert. Although I can’t see EDM becoming my favorite genre in the near future (or outside of a club), the concert was extremely energetic and the performances were full of life, and yes, true talent.
The atmosphere at the venue was full of energy, as most of the crowd was under the age of 25 (or younger) and ready to dance. Even prior to the concert starting the venue was packed with younger people racing to get drinks before the acts began, and once the music started that energy only became more ramped up.
The evening started off with DJ Whethan, aka 17-year-old Ethan Snoreck, a high school junior from Chicago who caught the attention of famed DJ Skrillex after landing his own record deal with the company Future Classic. Not expecting too much from this opening act, I was pleasantly surprised to hear some of his work, which managed to get the crowd dancing and moving before the more famous acts took the stage. DJ Whethan provided the classic DJ experience by mostly staying behind his mixing board and giving the crowd re-mixes of the classics in addition to his own unique sound.
After DJ Whethan was Kiiara, the extremely trendy electronic pop music star from Illinois who’s making her way through the music industry by combining elements from pop, electronic music, and rap. As a performer, Kiiara did not impress me with her stage presence or ability to connect with the audience. She appeared uncomfortable to be the sole focus on the stage, and her movements were often awkward and somewhat forced. It was her vocals that redeemed much of the performance, as she has a beautiful and unique voice that stands out from the electronic background music.
The headliners of the night, the ultra-popular EDM/pop duo The Chainsmokers, were extremely engaging and managed to keep the crowd dancing and moving throughout their performance. When you think of typical DJs you picture individuals that stay behind the mixing board and largely keep their heads down during a performance. The Chainsmokers blew that stereotype out of the water, and I was glad to see how interactive they were during the entire performance. Touring in support of their first full-length CD Memories…Do Not Open The Chainsmokers (consisting of Alex Pail and Andrew Taggart) consistently emerged from behind the board (sometimes even jumping on top of it) to interact with the crowd and keep the energy going. Andrew Taggart performed many of the vocals for the music and was very engaging and charismatic while performing, and both men knew how to work the crowd. At one point Alex Pail put on a St. Louis Blues jersey, making the crowd go wild. The duo played major hits like “Closer”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Paris”, and even threw in a re-mixed version of Panic! At the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (which got the 20-something crowd going). Although the duo did not come out with a set list prior to the show, the group will generally follow this pattern for their summer tour (list courtesy of edmsauce.com):
The Chainsmokers Setlist:
- The One
- Fuck It (Riot Ten Cover)
- Inside Out
- Dreaming (Smallpools Cover)
- Break Up Every Night
- Let You Go
- Don’t Say
- Habits – Stay High (Tove Lo Cover)
- I Write Sins Not Tragedies (Panic! at the Disco Cover)
- I Won’t Kill Ya
- New York City
- Don’t Let Me Down
- Encore: Last Day Alive
If you are into electronic pop and extremely danceable music, then you’ve got to check out The Chainsmokers. I was extremely impressed with their engaging performance and managed to have a fun time at the show (even though it’s really not my thing). This duo has managed to reach new heights in the pop music industry, so I’m intrigued to see where they go from here.