Friday Night: Porter Robinson at Stereo Live
Photos by Amanda J. Cain
Porter Robinson Stereo Live January 25, 2K13
If you asked the average artist how they'd feel about playing three shows in the same city within seven months of each other, they'd probably tell you, "That's madness." The belief is that you don't want to burn out your fans with repeated visits; you should always leave them wanting more.
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Porter Robinson fans care not for that theory, and proved it by showing up en masse to catch him Friday night.
Outside the venue it was every sold-out show ever: crowded parking lots, frustrated fans trying to find tickets at the last minute, and lines everywhere. Inside it was a complete sell-out, wall to wall, floor to ceiling. So many people, in fact, that the amount of body heat being generated inside Stereo Live created its own atmosphere, making the room dense with humidity, covering parts of the room in a thin layer of moisture.
The lesson here: Porter Robinson makes the floors sweat.
So what keeps his fans coming back to see Robinson time and time again? One could argue that in him they see the idealized versions of themselves: young and good-looking, with unlimited potential.
The truth is much simpler and less superficial: Robinson is an incredible talent.
Let's ignore the fact that he's a good producer who is probably only going to get better. Live, the man is a monster when it comes to putting a live set together. His ear for music is among the best in EDM; from the way he paces his set to get maximum energy from the crowd when he wants it to his slick transitions that included everything from Prodigy to M83 to Jimmy Eat World, the man has a knack for knowing how songs go together.
It's not just that he plays what the crowd wants to hear, either; his ability to cut out the fat from songs to give the audience the right amount of each track is amazing to watch. Somehow every song feels important, even if they're songs he plays every time he's in town.
That's not to say his shows are static; in fact, there was one change that highlighted both his ability to know what the crowd wants and the emerging sounds in EDM: Robinson dropped some trap music into his set.
Not a lot, mind you -- it made up less than 10 percent of the set -- and nothing particularly challenging (club kids love "Mercy"), but its appearance stood out in comparison to the rest of his house-centric set.
It goes without saying that the crowd loved it, just as they loved everything else Robinson played. It wouldn't surprise me if there were already people counting down the days until he comes back to town, no matter how soon or far off that day may be.
Personal Bias: If I had a list of favorite songs from the year 2012, "Language" would be in the Top 20.
The Crowd: I'm sure you've guessed already, but once more unto the breach: young, neon, blinking, the majority packed like sardines on the floor. Some very dedicated fans brought signs.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Fuck you guys for saying, 'It's going to sell out right before we get to the window.' You guys are assholes!," said the young man upset that tickets did in fact sell out right before they got to the window. Jinxes work.
Random Notebook Dump: A DJ was spinning in the upstairs lounge to a crowd of about 20 while Robinson was onstage. I was surprised, but couldn't blame them; it was significantly less humid in there.
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