Concert Reviews

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

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Once Deadmua5 finally smoothes out his pre-start obstacles, his set kicks off with a whimper not a bang. Still, on his full-on mouse-head appearance, a field of smartphones spring up like a thousand blades of shimmering grass. He manages to lose most of them within 30 minutes. The reason is that his music, in all its primary color, no-tricks-under-its-sleeve glory, is painfully and completely un-danceable. The EDM demi-god's first few tracks produced shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, and now there are as many patrons in the lobby socializing and watching stage side. As the synths spray and Deadmau5's masked eyes of white bobble left to right and up to down, I count seven people within eyeshot who are tending to their Facebook pages. If, as we are lent to believe, functionalism is the lifeblood of EDM, then Deadmau5's set at Lights All Night is resolutely unforgivable.

Above and Beyond brought a tranceier flavor to Lights All Night, reminiscent of a less ambient, overblown Moby DJ set..

A-Track employed some of the strangest textures of the festival. Unlike many of the more typical acts at LAN, this set was less about appropriation and more about innovation.

Paper Diamond sidestepped the infamous perma-crescendo, tension-less EDM trappings by working in traphouse shapes and footwork styled edits. His set is noticeably more immediate, and the fans respond in kind. Next to Deadmau5's performance, Paper Diamond is a revelation, making the former's tracks seem both two dimensional and antiquated by comparison. As Paper Diamond's trademark face graphic swirls on screen, basking the crowd in a spectrum of varying pinkish hues, it made me think, "Surely this is the future of EDM."

After two days and over twenty hours of music, Lights All Night comes to a close. The sobering overhead lights are almost immediately switched on and the mass exodus to escape the festival's day-glow debauchery begins. Now this is really a sight. Imagine over twenty thousand human beings packed like sardines trying to escape one building, through one exit, all at once. It looks not dissimilar to a school of lazy, uncoordinated fish attempting to flee a slow-moving predator en masse. The tempo at which progress occurs is snail-like, at molasses break-neck speeds. I think I'm touching fifteen people all at once and the smell in here is sharp, musty and sour: human odor laced with tanning lotion and body spray.

See also: -The Top Ten All Time Best Replacement Lead Singers in Rock and Roll -Songs That Have Hidden Messages When Played in Reverse -The Ten Best Music Videos Banned by MTV

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Jonathan Patrick

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