The Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall
September 13, 2014
It was clear from the minute his set started that Porter Robinson's performance at the Shrine was going to be more than just your typical EDM event.
Robinson is on tour in support of Worlds, his first album and a massive change from what his fans had come to expect from him based on his hard-hitting EP Spitfire. While Spitfire was bass-heavy, Worlds relies more on pretty melodies and influences from Japanese anime to create an alternative, more ambient sound.
In an interview with Vibe Magazine, Robinson said, "It was really important to me that it feels like a concert, not a party or a rave or whatever." Throughout the set, the young Skrillex protégé succeeded making the night more about an artistic experience than drugged-up, zoned-out dancing. (Which isn't to say that no one was partaking; there were plenty of people showing the typical effects of EDM's favorite drug, molly.)
One of the best parts of the show was watching how much Robinson connected with music that he was making—to an extent—live, which is a novelty in and of itself in the age of the "press play" DJ. Robinson's setup was minimal, so it was easy to see when he was playing melodies and drum pads live, as well as even performing some live vocals. Every song he played was his own, which added to the concert-not-rave feel.
Watching him, it was obvious that this experience was something he had spent a lot of time crafting and perfecting, though there was an element of rawness to it, as well. You could feel the largely college-aged crowd connect to Robinson as a musical artist, not just a DJ.
Musically, Robinson's set weaved Worlds in with older material, anticipating that the crowd would be expecting a little bit of both sides of his work. He worked loud, bass-heavy transitions seamlessly in between his newer, more melodic tracks, making for an impressively continuous and stylistically variable hour and a half of music.
"I think it's only appropriate to play the song that got me wanting to produce pretty stuff full time. Maybe this is an obvious encore...but one more song," he said before closing the night with an altered version of his early hit, “Language.’
It seemed like Robinson managed to strike the perfect balance between pleasing himself and pleasing his fans. Both he and his audience looked like they enjoyed every minute.
"This is the only time I haven't been disappointed by Porter," one guy said, while waiting in the regrettably massive, nightmare of a line to get out of the venue. "And that's even more impressive because this is the only time I haven't been rolling."
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