This past Saturday at approximately 10, with a guy in a bro tank to my left and a girl in jewels to my right, I was in the dimly lit Majestic. The opener was about to come on, and I was ready to make the most of the few precious hours of syllabus week that I had left. Those hours were filled with three fantastic EDM producers armed with laptops and an ear for house music: Madison’s own Affair, followed by Denver-based Illenium and finally, Chill Harris.
When Affair took the stage, I was instantly transported back to summer. Spencer Spears, Spencer Roehre and Karsten Sladky have a spectrum of sounds. On one hand, they create beats that evoke vibes of sun-kissed skin, late nights and starry skies, and on the other, their music can be rave-esque. For being a fairly new group to the scene, their mastery of layering songs and sounds to create something fresh is admirable.
One track that stood out was their remix of OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars.” If you had asked me last week if I could see myself dancing to One Republic, I would have told you “hell no.” But on Saturday I was pleasantly proved wrong as, one, I danced to OneRepublic and, two, I liked it.
The crowd was sad to see Affair leave after their set. I’m sure they heard our chants for one more mix, but time would not allow such a wish to be granted. Illenium was up next, and boy did he deliver. Nick Miller’s set sent the crowd into a frenzy. Bodies were moving to the steady bass, a staple throughout Illenium’s mixes.
Illenium took the audience on an emotional ride, both having distinct emotions throughout the mixes and combining two sometimes-competing emotions into something beautiful. One song that showcased this was Illenium’s remix of Niykee Heaton’s “Infinity.” This song pulls the listener through the feelings associated with the tremulous nature of falling in love contrasted with wanting to get it on right now. It perfectly emulated the beautiful nervousness mixed with the undeniable pull to that one person.
Illenium created an amazing transition with his final mix, one of Chill Harris’ songs, “Operate” ft. Royal. With this swift mood change, Corey Baker graced the stage. Many may know Baker under original moniker Kill Paris, but due to recent events, he changed his stage name to Chill Harris. He may have a new name, but it was the same sound we know and love.
The set was filled with funky tunes paired with classic EDM music traits, like drops. Chill Harris was particularly good at playing with his audience; he loved to build tension. Many of us started to already move to the music we expected, only to be surprised that the song hadn’t dropped yet. This made the drop that much more exciting when it finally did happen. I believe Chill Harris knew exactly what he was doing to us and loved every confused face he could make out in the audience.
The combination of these three artists created an amazing night. The audience was able to see some amazing local talent in the trio that is Affair. Illenium and Chill Harris were able to end their tour in a city that was excited to groove with them. And I? I was able to forget about school for a little while, transported somewhere where emotions are created and felt through bass drops, found sounds and a little bit of luck.