DJ Bill at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica Doesn’t Disappoint

Concert Review

click to enlarge Because every good DJ deserves an LED wall. - Jeff Niesel
Jeff Niesel
Because every good DJ deserves an LED wall.
Last summer, dubstep icon Skrillex swung through town with a killer light show and booming soundsystem. His show at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica was one of the summer’s highlights. Last night at the same venue, Zedd brought an equally killer light show and soundsystem to town. Performing in front of a giant LED wall, he made the most of the trippy graphics that the visual artist Beeple designed for the tour in support of his latest album, True Colors, and delivered an engaging set.

“Cleveland, are you guys fucking ready!” Zedd yelled at the start of the nearly two-hour long concert. Perched in the middle of a massive LED wall, Zedd looked like a small blip on a giant board. But he kept the enthusiastic fans (many of whom came equipped with their own glowsticks) engaged from the opening notes of “Beautiful Now,” a song with pulsating synthesizers and a “bah, bah, bah” chorus that turned into a sing-a-long. A heavy bass drum kicked off Zedd’s extended remix of the Magic tune “Rude.” “Stay the Night,” a club hit that features soaring vocals from Paramore’s Hayley Williams, benefited from the flames that shot up from the stage floor. The effects weren’t just gratuitous — the song actually does include lyrics about flames and gasoline.

David Guetta’s “Bad,” a tune that features squeaky vocals and percolating synthesizers, started out as a funk number but then segued into a hypnotizing trance number. And “Bumble Bee,” Zedd’s dubstep-inspired collaboration with the production team Botnek, really popped as Zedd played it at maximum volume.

Through it all, the visuals were truly immersive. At one point, it looked as if Zedd was in an underground tunnel with lava flowing through it. At another point, green lasers flickered across the audience. The graphics were synced so they shook in unison with the bass, and confetti guns shot off during the concert as well.

Twentysomething-year-old “French wünderkind” Madeon opened the show with a terrific set of his own. He positioned his sequencers so they faced the crowd, enabling fans to watch as he tweaked the songs, constantly turning knobs and pressing buttons to add bits of bass and percussion to the tunes he played. Highlights included the funky “Pay No Mind,” a song that features soulful vocals courtesy of Passion Pit, and “The City,” a tune that was accompanied by a video that featured images of an animated cityscape.

Prior to Madeon’s set, the dance outfit Krewella made an unannounced appearance and received an enthusiastic response from the audience especially when it played a remix of its infectious club anthem “Alive.”
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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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