Louis the Child brought energy and positivity to their set at the Orpheum Friday night, with the end result being four hours of exceptional EDM.
The first of three opening acts was Party Pupils, a Chicago-based house duo made up of singer Max and producer RyanEXOE. Best-known for their debut single, “Ms. Jackson,” Party Pupils gave a groovy half-hour performance filled with keytars, neon glasses and fantastic falsettos. Having a notable solo career as well, Max sang vocals from his part on the Whethan song, “Savage.” He has also collaborated with Gnash and Hoodie Allen, but his collective with RyanEXOE is what gave this set its retro aesthetic and feel. Along with other tracks like “Pony,” a more upbeat cover of the classic Ginuwine song, Party Pupils energized the then-small crowd long before Louis the Child took to the stage.
About five minutes later, Win and Woo appeared and created a more mellow atmosphere. Another Chicago-based act, the pair, comprised of Nick Winholt and Austin Woo, have used their Soundcloud fame to bolster a growing fanbase. Things became intense once Winholt brought out an electric guitar, but the heavy bass drops of their electronic trap tracks drowned out the chords. That said, their remixes of chart-topping hip-hop singles kept the crowd alive, as Win and Woo provided concertgoers with another half-hour of music.
The last opening act was Joey Purp, a rapper from Chicago whose most-viewed song on YouTube is “Girls,” a record with Chance the Rapper from last year. At first, the stage just had Purp’s hype-man playing one too many songs by other artists, but when the rapper finally appeared, he didn’t disappoint. In addition to “Girls,” he also performed “We Don’t Know How To Stop,” a song with a simple yet catchy hook. With many of Louis the Child’s songs being remixes to popular rap records, it was nice having an opener dedicated to quality rhymes and verses.
Other than Purp’s hype-man having too much time to himself onstage, the three acts made for a solid opening lineup. As good as they all were, I became restless in waiting for Louis the Child’s arrival. After Purp’s 40-minute performance, there was about a half hour of downtime before they came out at 10:30 p.m. After introducing themselves, Louis the Child’s Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett kicked off their set with the popular “Fire.”
At this point, the Orpheum was filled with passionate fans. For the next 90 minutes, the crowd was treated to a myriad of music, with everything from electronic trap to original songs that had slick production and featured strong female vocalists — think any Chainsmokers song where Drew Taggart isn’t the one singing. Louis the Child also brought fantastic remixes with them, including their versions of Chance the Rapper’s “All Night” and Ty Dolla $ign’s “Blasé” — both of which can be heard on the duo’s Soundcloud account — being standouts with their swirling beat drops.
Throughout the performance, they played all six songs off their EP Love is Alive, which features “Fire” and the eponymous title track. They also played “Weekend,” an uplifting track featuring Icona Pop that was visually accompanied by streamers shot from above. Louis the Child dedicated much of the show to their own music, something I felt was sorely missing at DJ Khaled’s performance a few weeks prior.
Most of the original tracks sounded how they did off the EP, but a few like “Slow Down Love” and “My Phone Died” had different renditions to make the show feel unique. They also played their newest single, “Right To It,” featuring singer Ashe, who’s also on their track, “World On Fire.” At the same time, they didn’t exclude their more obscure works, as they played the unreleased mix, “Candy,” along with “From Here,” the latter of which has a glittery production.
If there are any takeaways from seeing Louis the Child live, it’s that they’re in love with their profession and the fans who support their work. Instead of mechanically standing in place the entire time, the two used the stage — and even the top of their table — to dance. They also crowd-surfed and took pictures with fans; one person in the crowd lobbed their phone towards Hauldren, who caught it, took a selfie and handed the phone back to the fan with a seamless swagger.
At the end of their show, Hauldren and Kennett took the time to thank their fans and mentioned how “we’re all experiencing this together.” As if there wasn’t enough fan service provided leading up to the speech, they returned for an encore and performed “It’s Strange,” a personal favorite. The crowd belted out each bittersweet lyric and raised their hands in unison with the Flume-like drop, making for an excellent penultimate song.
The pair concluded the show with every Badger’s favorite, House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” Party Pupils, Win and Woo, Joey Purp and even a few Orpheum employees hopped in to dance with the duo onstage, the crowd joining them in the UW-Madison tradition. The concert came to an official end at midnight, the remnants of a great show evident from the confetti, streamers and cans of PBR strewn about the room.
As was apparent Friday night, the Chicago music scene abounds with talent and Louis the Child leads that group in the world of EDM. Hauldren and Kennett have promising careers ahead of them, and watching the two perform live has only made me more excited for the inevitable release of their debut album. Expect the success of this already-popular group to grow even further in the coming years.