Psychedelic, blow up pillars lined the far walls of the Mullins Center. An out-of-this-world photo shoot was set up in the style of “Fantazia,” the mind-bending back story to the show. Bright lasers traced erratic patterns on the walls. Props were made of vibrant oranges, greens and pinks, giving the entire set a sense of suspended reality. It was easy for audience members to get lost in the story of “Fantazia.”
Last Wednesday, the Mullins Center was home to the opening show of unique visuals and musical spectacle, “Fantazia 360,” an electronic music event. The event sold out, with over 3,000 people in the audience.
The night began with DJ VOLTRAN on stage, accompanied at times by two dancers in dark headdresses. His crowd was small, as he began while people were filing in. Behind him, a large television screen displayed his name and other images. Audience members were still a bit reserved in their movements when he took the stage, warming up for the night’s events to come.
Bamboora followed VOLTRAN, and people dressed in electric bright colors and Halloween costumes began to fill all around the 360 degree stage, and as the intensity of the music increased the dancing began. Students donned costumes of well-known characters such as Waldo from the children’s books, “Wheres Waldo,” and video game characters such as Mario, Luigi and Yoshi.
Lights dimmed during his set, and with the increased amount of audience members, the party started to take on its own life. At one point during his set, a violinist joined him on the stage, playing solo melodies over his beats.
By the time headlining DJ DSK CHK graced the stage in his signature Guy Fawkes mask, the dance floor was packed and the crowd was fully warmed up. Hundreds of students filled in around the stage, dancing in pairs, groups or alone, hands up and moving to his beats. It was at this point in the show that the visual artistic elements took over.
One of the most appealing aspects of this show was the stage set up. Most shows feature a single, front-facing stage. Fantazia 360 was set up with a 360-degree stage, which audience members can fill around. Not only does this give more people in the audience a clearer view of the on stage action, but creates a grander sense of involvement for all those who attended the show.
Although both VOLTRAN and Bamboora had onstage accompaniment, it was during DSK CHK’s set that the real show began. Dancers with black and white spiraled umbrellas moved about the stage at first, twirling them slowly in mesmerizing patterns. Soon more dancers joined the stage, dressed in a multitude of different costumes, in a plethora of styles and colors, ranging from dark scary masked creatures to bright colored dances with feather hats. The live violist who made an appearance on stage with Bamboora returned, her violin lighting up with every stroke of her bow. The combination of the recorded DJ tracks and her live playing brought a unique appeal to the show.
Soon fire dancers brought fire to stage. With a flaming headdress, Flambeaux spat fire and lit the stage itself aflame, shocking members of the audience. People closest to the stage could feel the heat of the flames as the flames shot overhead. With their cast of dancers, Flambeaux Fire brought a whole new dimension to the show, bringing Fantazia beyond the realm of a typical electronic dance show and making it into an artistic spectacle.
As the show went on, acrobatic dancer Natasha Circus found her way onto the stage, bending and twisting into seemingly impossible shapes in the suspended rings and stars above the stage. Circus was a spectacle to the all those that watched, entrancing the crowd with her fluid and seemingly impossible movements.
DSK CHK really is a showman. Throughout his set, he was not only in constant movement with the music he played from his DJ set up in the shape of a baby grand piano, but moved around the stage, at times jumping up onto his piano, sending the crowd into a frenzy. A series of invisible cables attached to hoisted him up, giving him the appearance of floating in midair amongst the dancers circling around him.
The only downfall to the entire show was the length of DSK CHK’s set. He brought the show to what seemed like a climax multiple times, but instead of ending it while he was on top, he kept it going longer. While the multiple climax and faux end of a show can be an excellent tool at times, the effect felt overused, and by the end of the show the audience was clearly tired and ready to head home.
At the end of the show, DSK CHK procured a second Guy Fawkes mask which he then gave out to an audience member, a sign from the DJ himself to keep the night alive.
Justin Surgent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org