November 9, 2013
When Swedish golden boy Avicii is DJing, he does this back and forth shuffling with his right hand in the air, fingers motioning along with the music. In a sense, he's like the Gustavo Dudamel of EDM, conducting the elements that go into his massive live show -- the lights, the visuals, the buttons, the crowd-- all while playing mostly other peoples' songs.
On Saturday night he filled the Hollywood Bowl, where, of course, Dudamel and his L.A. Phil are regulars. Getting into the venue involved extensive pat downs -- men in one line, women in the other. They were on close look-out for banned stuff like laser pointers, masks, candy necklaces, and drugs -- not to mention outside food and beverages, picnic baskets, large bags, unsealed packs of gum and cigarettes and blankets, which are all usually allowed into the Bowl. The EDM kids were welcome, but didn't seem to be particularly trusted.
In any case, everyone was pretty well behaved, tame even, especially compared to, say, EDC or Hard. There were a few girls in tutus, but also plenty of leather jacket hipsters, well-heeled middle aged folks, high school students, and parents with their kids.
It all shows that Avicii is a massive crossover success. He was mega popular even before his hit "Wake Me Up" hit mainstream radio and County Music Television. Now, he's a pop culture brand.
The lights were dazzling, blinding. The November fog mixed with the fake smoke emanating from the stage.
The older couple in the box in front of us smoked a joint and began making out heavily. It was on.
Avicii, all gangly arms and Nordic bone structure, also sampled the Motown hit "Tracks of My Tears" and other soul influenced sounds which were all, of course, given the big beat drop treatment.
It was thrilling yes, but ironically at times felt a bit soulless.