Avicii worth the wait

By Katie-Rose De Candia

Swedish DJ Tim Bergling, more popularly known as Avicii, filled the Mullins Center last Thursday with the house beat that has taken many campus arenas by storm. The show was rescheduled from January 31, but as soon as this up-and-coming DJ hit the stage, it was clearly worth the wait.

Groups of people began trickling into the arena when the doors opened at 6:30 p.m. DJ Paige, a 21-year-old who was on a three-day tour with Avicii, took the stage shortly after 7:30 when the show was scheduled to begin. Slowly but surely, the crowd began to grow. As more and more people filled the stands and the dance floor, the music got louder and the lights began to change color. Swirling magenta and green circles illuminated the audience. Paige impressed the audience with remixes of popular songs like “You Make Me Feel” by Cobra Starship, and “Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys.

It wasn’t until 9:30 that Avicii finally took the stage. Thousands of fans went wild as the bass, volume and lights were kicked up a notch. The inside of the Mullins Center became a fluorescent rainbow. The giant screen behind Avicii and his turntables flashed his name, along with other colorful pictures and designs. A smaller screen below the DJ showed a “Battery Meter” signifying the intensity of the music and its energy, periodically switching to the words “House For Hunger,” the name of Avicii’s current tour. The tour aims to generate and donate $1 million towards Feeding America, a hunger relief charity. Avicii and manager Ash Pournouri took on the project.

One of the first songs Avicii played was a remix of David Guetta’s “Titanium.” The female vocalist’s voice soared out over the crowd, “Fire away, fire away/You shoot me down, but I won’t fall/I am titanium.” As people sang along, the beat behind the voice became more prominent and pounding as Avicii and his fans got ready for the drop. The constant exchange between voice and electronic intensity continuously riled everybody up. Even those in the stands were dancing in front of their seats. Everyone at the show was moving.

Avicii came out with a remix to the older, but very popular song “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics, originally released in 1983. Almost everyone sang along. His rendition of the classic song couldn’t be more different than the original. The tune was less melodic, and the voice “singing” was almost robotic. Only electronic pulses and beeps could be heard, with the sound of real instruments entirely absent. The music, voice and rhythm would slowly fade out periodically, only to be followed with an epic drop where the beat came back in louder and more intense than before. Being a typical progression in the house and dubstep genres, Avicii knew exactly how to use this tactic to make the crowd go crazy.

The song “Otherside” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers has become a popular song for DJs to remix. Once Avicii dropped his own rendition of this classic and well-loved song, the crowd was screaming with approval and excitement. As people sang along in unison with RHCP’s Anthony Kiedis, the lyrics echoed from wall to wall, packing the arena with sound. Avicii swiftly covered popular songs like these and carefully added a collaboration of bass and beat, providing the audience with an energetic sound that almost forced everybody to dance. Near the end of the set, Avicii played his remix of “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, which sent everyone into frenzy as they shouted out the lyrics. A unique aspect of house music is that the DJ can take songs of completely opposite genres and tones and find a way to weave them into an electronica beat, allowing for the dancing crowd to experience these songs in a way they haven’t before. The packed sea of moving bodies on the dance floor was certainly a spectacle.

At around 10:40 Avicii dropped “Levels,” one of his most popular hits. Even as people were outside the Mullins Center walking toward the entrance, they could be heard singing the catchy melody that repeats over and over for the first minute of the song. As the beat and melody faded quickly, a voice pierced through the speakers, “Oh, sometimes, I get a good feeling, yeah.” At this point in the show it was clear that everybody was experiencing that same good feeling. As the voice continued to sing, the beat slowly came back to eventually complement the original melody.

It seemed as though Avicii was saving some of his most well-known songs for the end of his show. At about11:00, he finally played “Fade into Darkness.” Even at this late point in the evening, the crowd hadn’t lost a bit of energy. It only seemed to intensify as this song blasted through the speakers with the bass and the rhythm vibrating through the air and out people’s fingertips. Avicii’s own energy only excited the crowd more, as he pumped his fist and moved to the rhythm behind his electronic equipment.

“I had so much fun, I was so excited,” University of Massachusetts senior Chelsea Balestieri said after the show. “This is a new movement,” referring to the emphatic onset of EDM genres in the music industry and its influence on the younger generation. Avicii is now added to the impressive list of electronic dance music DJs that have come to UMass this year, which includes names like Afrojack, Tiesto, Rusko and Deadmau5.

Katie-Rose De Candia can be reached at kdeca[email protected]