Of all the DJs who've come through LIV, a 19-year-old may be one of the most talented.
Madeon, the French boy-wonder, has probably one of the most impressive live acts in EDM, considering he actually plays on a Launchpad in conjunction with Ableton and some other goodies.
In a way, it's curious that he would play a venue like LIV, where most of the audience has a weak grip on the concept of DJing, let alone the difference between mixing and live sampling. But where else do you go when you're at the top of the game?
Before the boyish, suited figure took the stage, the place was busy getting warmed up. The opening DJ was bringing maximum groove appeal, playing a mix of now-classic electro staples from '08 or '09. Shoulders jerked and hips worked as the crowd liquored up and shook off its inhibitions.
Anticipation was mounting as the clock struck 1 a.m. A bunch of confused but pleasantly inebriated dance floor members decided the VJ must be the focal point because of his array of laptops. We had a good laugh watching them cheer on a guy who was working a light show they weren't bothering to look at for a good ten minutes or so before the lights dimmed and Madeon's logo appeared behind the real DJ booth. At that point, the confused partiers kind of humbly figured it out, and the show was beginning.
He opened with a bright and cheerful yet commanding song, busting out his signature moves, hunched over his Launchpad and banging out the bleeps with his spidery limbs, dressed like a downright gentleman. Immediately, the girls in the VIP clamored around the wall dividing them from the young star, who looks more like 12 than almost 20, and pushed over each other to take pictures or vines or instagrams or whatever to prove they were there.
He put his hands up, playing air piano as Empire of the Sun sang out "Loving every minute 'cause you make me feel so alive." You could get the sense that Madeon could mean these lyrics as a love poem to his audience, but at this point, some of the bottle-poppers seemed more engaged with their cell phones than the talented young man. He was going to have to win this crowd over.
Toward that goal, he played a little bit of everything throughout the night. Some less familiar with Madeon's catalogue might think he only has a few hits, or at most a big YouTube video, but he's actually got quite a loaded arsenal. He dropped his recent jam "The City" soon after beginning, and mixed in the classic A-Trak "Heads Will Roll" remix, then really connected with the crowd with some Krewella.
Hot dancer babes strutted about on platforms peacocking in bright blue feathery garments as Madeon put his hands into the air like some kind of lightning rod catching melodies. He took the crowd into the deep end with some harder beats, and now more of the audience was tearing themselves away from their tiny screens, dutifully screaming out for the drops.
This kid definitely knows what he's doing. His mix hopped from genre to genre, playing everything from big hour to electro, dutch house, and anything with a steady, rocking beat. He worked through his hit "Icarus," taking a special break within the song to mash it up with "Mr. Brightside," before coming back to the drop and mixing into his remix of "Raise Your Weapon." Hand-guns filled the air.
His name flickered around the screen, though we kind of wish there was a camera on his hands for a performance like this. If the crowd could see his thin fingers bashing those swuares, playing those sounds in real-time, they probably would have found it more impressive. Instead, they focused on the giant rainbow balloons bouncing above their heads and had a nice game of "oh-my-god-I-want-to-be-the-one-to-hit-it" over one-another.
He dropped Oliver's dance anthem "Move Your Body" and his playful remix of "Night Out." He surprised the crowd with "Internet Friends" before dropping the levels and coming back hard with a French-as-fuck snippet of "Genesis" from Justice, followed by "Disco Nap." The only trap he dropped all night was R. L. Grime's now-classic "Satisfaction" remix, and he led the crowd in a sing along moment with "Song 2."
He closed in a similar vein to how he opened, letting play "Walking on a Dream" as the screen flashed "Happy Birthday Vikki." Hopefully, Vikki was having the best freaking night ever and wasn't too drunk to see that.
At 2:37, the first snippets of sample came through indicating that Madeon was about to burn up the Launchpad and play "Pop Culture," the 39-song mash up that made him famous back in 2011. Again, it would have been great if the crowd could see his fingers working like mad across the button machine, but his perfect timing and natural rhythm was probably lost of them, though his live variation proved to a learned listener that he was bringing a fresh mix.
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As usual, he let the song melt into an emotional build which gave way to his hit "Finale," finishing with a serious banger fit for the lively people of LIV. As the crowd was at their height, he raised his hands and shook them goodbye, then the closing DJ came and abruptly dropped hours of trap on our drunk heads.
Whether most people realized it or not, it was a great show, and Madeon proved he's not a flash-in-the-pan kind of star. What's better, he'll surely only improve with age.