The Chainsmokers – Spark Arena October 24, 2017

Just how much EDM can one person handle? My final question of the night and my response was barely the hour and a half II had to stand; both physically and metaphorically! For the rest of the crowd, well populated with intoxicated university students on study leave, more than three hours. The Chainsmokers delivered exactly that!

The Chainsmokers are an American DJ duo, hailing from New York City. Made up of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, the two have been performing and touring endless since 2014 after the drop of their critically mixed single “#Selfie”.

Three years later and much to my surprise, they managed both to stay relevant and release an acceptable album which reached the high reaches of most of the world music charts. So naturally enough they made the long trek to New Zealand on the back of their Australian tour.

Touring in support of their feebly titled 2017 debut album “Memories…Do Not Open”, subsequently panned as being one of the worst albums of the year, I went to Spark Arena not expecting to be impressed, and my limited expectations were fully met!

I turned up to Spark Arena to catch opening acts Chores and LDRU. The audience were happy and dancing but nothing new or genre breaking was forthcoming , just EDM and bass drops we have all heard before.

During and between acts I witnessed highly intoxicated punters being escorted and assisted out of the venue, predominantly young first year uni students. I spoke briefly to a volunteer of Red Frogs who are an organisation that helps out with people who have drunk too much at events and are always on call for EDM concerts and unsurprisingly, she stated that this is just usual business for them.

The Chainsmokers made their way onto stage at 9:20 for their hour and a half show which would prove to be too long

The audience was ecstatic, everyone was jumping and dancing, having a great time. The duo offered more than the usual EDM show, they had pyrotechnics and even a live drummer! The visuals were stellar and were entertaining enough to distract from the music being played and partly compensated for the music.

Entertaining moments of the night were when the touring drummer stunned the crowd by playing his kit with his pyrotechnic drumsticks. I have to hand it to them, they were putting on great stage presence that many EDM acts lack to this day, this included moments of silence between each song where they actively engaged with the crowd and discuss their lives. A nice touch and often lacking from visiting bands these days.

They also were able to prove that they were up to date with modern youths by presenting visuals of snapchat, emojis, iphone applications and even at one point Alex Pall’s spotify playlist, which helped introduce the duo’s biggest hit “Closer” and would receive the loudest singalong and the most hype of the night.

I left the concert still feeling indifferent about EDM more so really as nothing sounded original or any more creative than the usual run of the mill top 40 hits you would hear on The Edge.

Would I go to another EDM show, out of choice? No, I would not but, to be fair, the people who were brought there because they are fans of the music, it would of been a great night for them, they looked satisfied and wanted to keep dancing, the place was packed with them and a great time seemed to be had by all!

Jonathan Strock

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