With Seven Lions and Candyland
Fillmore Miami Beach
Friday, November 8, 2013
Better Than: A generation of fully clothed young women and their boyfriends getting drunk and starting fights at rock 'n' roll shows. Or a Krewella show without dad.
EDM is getting old. For years now, dance music has been the pop of choice for America's youth, and you'd think it would have started to lose its sheen. But nay, the kids are still addicted to its effervescent allure, and Krewella's brand of hyped-up, girl-friendly, emotional pop-punk-meets-buzzstep is their favorite flavor.
But don't worry, parents, even if your daughters are dressed like prostitutes and staying up all hours of the night, my own father is convinced it's all "good clean fun."
My dad is 53, and back in his day, he was something like the biggest, meanest street fighter in all of Miami. He's been sent to the hospital with men's teeth stuck in his fist, he's had bottles broken over his head - granted, he knows trouble when he sees it. I thought it would be funny to take him to the Krewella performance at the Fillmore so he could have a look at what the kids are into these days. For sure, y'all didn't disappoint.
Before heading out, I tried to give him a little breakdown of what to expect. I explained the kandi bracelets, the lack of clothing. I explained the build and drop formula, and that kids would lose their minds without fail on every boom. He just laughed and looked at me with wonder, but it all came together as we entered the venue.
"You're right," he said, looking from girl to even smaller girl. "How did it happen that they all go out naked?" Young girls nowhere near 18 strutted past in sequined bras and Lycra coochie-cutters.
"But these guys are all so respectful," he continued as we smoked cigarettes on the back porch. "Back in my day, if even one girl showed up in something like this, uh-ho-ho, it would be over. Alpha male battle to the death!"
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We got there for the last half of Seven Lions set. It had the kids happy enough, but it was a little boring for our tastes. I explained that Krewella was known for bringing the fucking ruckus on stage. That it's one guy working the decks and two girls who take turns DJing and singing, running around from the front of the stage to the back, droppin' F-bombs and sweating up a storm. At about 11:15, he got his chance to experience Krew Life first hand.
Their stage emerged from the darkness, a giant space rock that was both glittery and menacing. A blinding light announced the band's arrival to the booth. Rain Man took the controls on deck while the sisters Yasmine and Jahan sang the hook to their song "Live For The Night." After that, they showed the kids how to "Play Hard" and had the whole crowd going in.
"Miami, how the fuck are you feeling right now?" Yasmine asked loudly. "If you don't know by now, we are Krewella from fuckin' Chicago." She introduced the trio by name, and later, introduced their videographer who kept popping up here and there to film their tour video titled Krew Life.
They dropped their mega-giant smash "Alive" early in the set, and I leaned in to explain to my father that this was one of their biggest hits. He noted that, from beginning to end, some of these kids never stopped fucking moving.
"These kids just have so much energy, and they've got to get rid of it somehow," he said, marveling at the skinny limbs that bobbed up and down continuously. He thought shuffling was one of the coolest things he's ever seen, totally mesmerized by the stomping feet.
There was a lot of shuffling, because Krewella was playing a lot of fucking hardstyle. If there's one thing I took away from the set, it's that a bit of hardstyle build with a trap-house drop is the number one way to get young kids to go fucking crazy. I heard them use that formula something like eight times, no lie.
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They aren't the type to lie when they say they love their Krew. They made sure to give everyone a little time in the spotlight. They even brought out their buddy from Candyland to help them sing along to "I Can't Control Myself," her afro bouncing in the air to the beat.
They played a bunch of what they called "brand new" songs, although the kids already knew a lot of the words. They played a new jam called "Lights and Thunder" followed by another titled "We Are One." They both sounded kind of similar, like Paramore decided to do hardstyle-infused brostep (oh wait, isn't that chick singer also doing EDM now? Funny). But again, it was the perfect music for these darn kids to get fuckin' loose.
"Make some noise if you fuck with Nicky Romero," Yasmine yelled to applause. They went into their collaborative track "Legacy," screaming all this stuff about how you saved my life tonight. I took some time to reflect on the magic of being a teenager, when songs could save your life because the only real problem you have is having to see your ex-boyfriend in second period every school day. But there's no way my dad would have let me out the house in a sequin bra, so I think these kids have it better.
The pop-apex of the show came when the whole place went fucking insane for a remix of Cascada's "Everytime we touch." My dad leaned over to tell me it all sounded like DDR music. He was right.
On stage, Krewella kept whipping their hair and sweatin' out the hits. They let their PLUR flag fly on "United Kids of the World." They had nothing to prove on "Ring of Fire," yelling that "we wrote this song for the kids that don't give a fuck."
They worked it hard. You could say they were "Killin' It." They played super dubsteppy on "One Minute" and gave it up to the crowd on every side. They threw lyrics up on stage and asked for everyone who was at Ultra for their set in March to let out a scream, thanking them for the beautiful memories and reminding us all to "Enjoy the Ride." They brought it back home with a big finish and a reprise of their biggest hit to date, "Alive," before leaving the stage with thank yous and a crowd chanting for just "one more song."
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Before they even reappeared, the stage flashed "Come and Get It" in big green letters, letting us know there was no question they were about to return. My dad particularly enjoyed the last track, watching the kids shuffle their last shuffles and really letting it all hang out. He was singing the chorus on our way back to the car.
"I tell you what, they must really be happy about this," he said, gesturing to the cops parked nearby the venue. "Back in my day, we would have been drinking and fighting in the streets. Something tells me these kids just want to go back to their rooms and keep dancing all night. They've got the fuckin' garage all done up, they're going to be drinking Red Bulls and dancing their asses off 'till morning."
We laughed as we piled into our car and marveled at the group of girls standing on the corner. "Twenty years ago, there would be no doubt those are prostitutes. But it's just that innocence. They're just having fun. They're too busy jumping to do anything else, and the music is made for jumping."
When my dad talked about it, it all kind of made sense. Yes, it is one big giant aerobics class for children. That's why they're wearing lycra and headbands. They're getting their sweat on. Maybe they did pop a molly, or maybe they're just high on fuckin' dubstep and Red Bull. Either way, they're not starting fights, they're enjoying themselves, and in that sense, the kids are alright.
Krewella's Partial Setlist:
-"Live For the Night"
-"This is Not the End" (featuring Pegboard Nerds)
-Knife Party's "Fire Hive" (Krewella Fuck On Me remix)
-"I Can't Control Myself"
-"Lights and Thunder"
-"We Are One"
-"Every Time We Touch"
-"United Kids of the World"
-"Ring of Fire"
-"Dancing with the Devil"
-"We Go Down"
-"Enjoy the Ride"
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-"Come and Get It"
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.