Concert Reviews

The Best Show of My Life Was at Lights All Night, Right When I'd Lost Hope

Two days, 12 hours in, and I feel like a stuck balloon. No energy drink can pull me from the oppressive blankness that clouds my mind. I lie in a broken, noodle-like mass on the floor outside of the main stage, searching for restful escape in an iPhones' application folder. This is the consequence of Lights All Night, or perhaps more accurately, an EDM overdose. I'm toxic: My blood pumps with all the sexless, whitewashed bacteria of a music that forgot imagination. Techno and IDM never happened, and the furthest historical reference point is Daft Punk's Discovery -- in here that might as well be 2,000 years ago. Put this event down as another dot on the timeline for how dance music became toothless, another point for Radio Disney to be filled with Rebecca Black's "Friday" and all your favorite One Direction bangers.

See also: Slideshow: The People of Lights All Night (NSFW)

Forgive me for being predictable, but the repetition is exhausting. And no, I don't mean in the conventional swaddling, tension-build that represents house/techno music's soul; I refer, instead, to EDM's '1-2-3 bang' crescendos that occur far too often, reducing the music to a series of big reveals that strip away its ability to surprise and inspire. At first, these big bangs are moving, almost shocking, but after 20 or so releases they become mundane, like the way something as poignant as a sunrise becomes commonplace in the face of everyday repetition. What remain are songs that have nothing left up their sleeves, which robs the music of its drama.

It's midnight and the only thing that stands between me and escape is a final date with Major Lazer, a set that I have been anticipating all weekend. Still, I'm not convinced I have anything left in the tank for it. I somehow manage to drag myself over to the stage nevertheless. To start, the crowd is amongst the thinnest I've seen all weekend; there are diehard Major Lazer converts speckled throughout, adorned in palpable excitement and telltale merchandise. Everyone else seems a touch confused, perhaps simply as tired as I am.

See also: Beats, Strobes and Shirtlessness: The Best (and Worst) of EDM at Lights All Night 2013

The music begins. Diplo, Jillionare and Walshy Fire appear in the DJ booth landing, Walshy Fire takes up a dangerous post on the landing's highest edge, arms outstretched like Jesus welcoming home his flock. The stage is one mammoth screen that reads "MAJOR LAZER" in tropical colors, several hundred feet wide. Bass permeates the air and the crowd begins to fill as the recognizable Major Lazer animations flood the stage. These THC-colored images have a grandeur that bleed into your headspace, and the result is illogically uplifting, like some blissful dream where you've fallen into the television screen as your favorite music video plays. Seconds, literally only seconds in, and this already surpasses everything that's happened all weekend.