One wouldn’t dare call Milwaukee a DJ city. It’s also not mistaken for the birthplace of electronica or house music. But despite what Milwaukee might be known for, the institution known as The Rave has been good about bringing world renowned DJs to the people of Milwaukee. Saturday was no different when Milwaukee played host to 22-year-old Swedish DJ Avicii (born Tim Bergling).
Avicii’s age might speak volumes about the genre. It’s a young and vibrant sound. It’s colorful and bright. And the droves of followers are too. Electronica has truly evolved throughout the years. It’s gotten more sophisticated. It’s grown more mature, while the audience remains as young as some of the talent. This is true of Avicii’s set Saturday night, where he moved his minions of brightly-clothed youths to the beat. The minions, the thousands of late teen/early twenties, all barely old enough to buy a cocktail [if it all], turned up in a wide array of bright colors. The colors complimented the accessories that are often a highlight of the genre and culture. But the real eye-openers are the scantily clad girls at these shows. Bras and bikini tops are not unusual attire as temperatures rise during the all out dance-off.
But enough about the crowd. No need to mention the pacifiers or the spandex. And forget the midnight start time by Avicii. This is a party. And what a party it is. Avicii’s fist pumping began with thick basslines and thumping rhythms that even the bartenders and security could enjoy. In true house form, Avicii’s set consisted of track after track of remixes specific for live performances. His latest and most popular track, “Levels” brought the barely legal crowd to a fury of convulsions and dance, giving in to the power of the rumbling bass and beats.
DJs, professionals in the art of moving a party up or down, are mediums for the beat. They channel the energy through a bevy of electronic components. They read the crowd like a technical manual, constructing and deconstructing the basics of the beat, and the output is a soundtrack for a dance party. Saturday was a night of some of the best in electronica. Young listeners turned out for what they herald as the digital sound of their time. The medium, a DJ, not too much older than the audience himself, who mans the controls of dials and knobs while he makes the rollercoaster of sound move up and down. Avicii served to hush the crowd at times. At others, he sent them into a frenzy. The bounce of the crowd even resembled the equalizer itself, as bodies and arms jump and pump up and down to the beat. The consummate party host, Avicii gave the audience what they wanted: a bold and unapologetic soundtrack for a kinetic transcendental out of body experience.
Electronica on a whole is ever growing. It gains traction as new talent surfaces. Its following tends to grow younger and younger. The result is a wild orgy of movement and sound, intertwining if almost sensually to the beat. And the beat-keeper? A 22-year-old who goes by the moniker Avicii who took up a cause (House For Hunger) and literally moved thousands in brew city for a few hours of escapism. All in a day’s work for most 22-year-olds right? Thought so.