I’ve admittedly never been to many of those one or two-day radio music festivals. I can’t think of any off the top of my head until Saturday night when I went to AMPLIFY 2017 to see Krewella, Grandtheft, Steve Aoki, and Kiiara at the Shrine Expo Hall.
Also admittedly, not my preferred genre, let alone preferred type of electronic music. But I ended up being pleasantly surprised all night by how much fun it was and how really, it felt like a Vegas nightclub vibe without all the bullshit that I hate about Vegas nightclubs. There was plenty of room to move around, the drinks weren’t $20, and people weren’t generally acting like a bunch of assholes. And most importantly, the music never stopped and they read the crowd right.
I was at The Echo to see The Dig earlier that night but made it over to the Shrine in time for the second half of Kiiara‘s set. I really fell hard for that song “Gold” in 2015 and actually liked her part on that new Linkin Park song. She didn’t wow me as a performer but the most important part was her voice sounded great live — the stage presence can be fine-tuned over time.
Steve Aoki was next and I’ve hardly ever been his biggest fan. It’s a bit gimmicky for my tastes but in this setting it fit. Aoki played up his hometown roots the whole show, and his humility was pretty cool. Some of it came across a bit corny but I couldn’t say I wasn’t having a good time. Corny can be fun, especially when people aren’t taking themselves too seriously. It was fun to see fire and fireworks going off — it was like he was pressing buttons so hard he was making it happen.
Krewella was a ton of fun. I died when they dropped some “Mr. Brightside” and Darude’s “Sandstorm” — they were just relentless. The highlight was this weird mix that went from “Heaven” by Britney Spears into The Weeknd into Eiffel 65. By this time I had seen at least a half-dozen people that were just way too messed up and being basically dragged out of the crowd by their friends. Some people are always gonna go overboard.
Grandtheft brought something special to the show. He brought out Delaney Jane for their song “Easy Go,” one of my favorites at the moment. It was the first time they had ever performed the song live together. The Toronto-based producer had the most consistent set of the night — people were using hte last bits of their energy to dance. By the time his set was over, my legs and feet were killing me and I had work in the morning.
Three of the four acts I saw played a full hour, which is not the norm for these radio fests. And I loved how there was no lag between sets, and the production felt on par with any of their own headline shows.
Photos courtesy of Scott Reyes / Goldenvoice