What does a number-one song and a viral video Internet sensation get you in Miami?
If you're a street-credible DJ and producer, it gets you a sold-out show at Grand Central and a sweaty mess of bodies lovin' ever second of it.
At least, that's how it worked out for Baauer on Saturday night, as he returned to the GC stage. But this time, he was the reigning Billboard champ and headlining his own show.
It was pure insanity. And at times, it was even difficult to breath. You can bet the kids danced their asses off. But even still, there wasn't a whole lot of actual "Harlem Shake"-ing.
Local star Mike Deuce kicked off the night with a powerful set of bass-heavy trap and moombah, playing everything that was fit to bang. He showed a lot of local love for Miami production duo GTA, dropping "Boy Oh Boy" and "Shake Dem." And indeed, tits and ass were being shook. There's nothing like trap-house to make a room full of awkward white kids believe they're the greatest hood dancers in the world.
Unless you were on some kind of mind-altering substance, it was difficult to stay inside the club for too long. The air was full of sweat and hot breath. The dance floor was packed. But it wasn't so bad as to seem over-sold and completely uncomfortable.
It was a very young crowd, though. Mostly teenagers and early 20-somethings. And there's almost nothing that can deter that kind of crowd from having a good time. Everywhere you looked some kid was getting finger gloves waved around in his vacant face. And it seemed like the place was specially decorated for the occasion. There were orange and black streamers flying across the ceiling like dragons with matching starburst balloons. It looked more like the kind of thing you'd see at Space or LIV, but the kids were digging it.
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As the night went on, hour after hour, people started asking when the fuck the New York City DJ would take the stage. The twerkers were getting antsy. But before the neon, PLUR-y vibes could turn negative, the music stopped and Baauer's signature sample called out, "You're now rockin' with the best."
And he opened with his Just Blaze collaboration "Higher." The song demanded that the sound man "turn my music up," and it really sounded like the speakers were cranked to 11. Smoke machines blasted to life and the crowd (who'd already worked themselves into puddles) turnt their bodies up to "all the way."
Baauer's set was a barrage of trap anthems, including an original hardstyle version of "Original Don," RL Grime's remix of "Satisfaction," his own trap edits of "Love Sosa," "Jah No Partial," and "Masta Blasta." It wasn't the kind of set designed to blow minds with new material, but a party soundtrack full of songs you already love.
In an interesting turn of events, Baauer threw out the big hit earlier than expected. About an hour into his set, approximately 2 a.m., he dropped his number-one claim to fame and the kids started doing body convulsions as if those were the steps to the "Harlem Shake." It was a bold move by the DJ. And there were a few kids who saw that as the moment to head home. Of course, though, he kept on sticking and moving through the bangers for another hour or so.
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Baauer has way more than just one song, and he let them have it with tracks like "Dum Dum" and "Purebread." He seemed to be loving the set just as much as the rolling faces in the crowd, waving his arms and jumping around like topping Billboard hasn't gone to his head. And hopefully, it never will.
It was honestly one of the wildest shows that we've seen since Ultra Festival (another big show for Baauer earlier in the year), and we wonder how many Baauer shows are sold out across the country.
Still, we bet almost no one can actually do the "Harlem Shake." It's the great irony of his career, but he's laughing all the way to the bank.