A star-studded lineup of artists took the stage at the Alliant Energy Center this past Friday night. Headlined by The Chainsmokers, The World War Joy Tour included acts from Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer and Canadian native, Lennon Stella.
Lennon Stella opened the night off with a short set that showcased her obvious talent. With a history of playing a recurring role on the hit TV-show “Nashville” and being one-half of singing-sister duo Maisie & Stella, her stage presence was electric and came naturally to her. Her vocals took her a long way, even if the crowd did not, practically unresponsive throughout her set. But, Stella did not let that get in the way of her doing her job and I was pleasantly surprised by her performance.
When first hearing about the show, I was quick to buy a ticket because of my long history as somewhat of a die-hard fan of 5 Seconds of Summer. As much as I should try and hide the days of having their posters plastered on my walls, or the times when I found myself near hysterics during an award show or performance, I simply cannot.
When hearing that one of the bands I credit a lot of my upbringing was coincidentally coming to the city where I go to school, it seemed too good to be true.
5 Seconds of Summer put on a show that showcased crowd favorites, like “She Looks So Perfect,” possibly the one song you would know by the band if you know nothing else. I’m not sure if anyone can look at American Apparel underwear the same way after that song occupied the radio. But, the band also brought their new sound to Madison, playing recent single, “Teeth,” a dark take on a love-hate relationship.
5SOS can engage any kind of crowd, most likely a driving reason as to why they chose to tour with a band like The Chainsmokers, who have a completely different sound. Per their musical abilities, as well as their cohesion as a band, everyone in the crowd had a good time. and Guitarist Michael Clifford made it his job to make sure those in attendance were doing just that. During a break between songs, Clifford called out a small section of people for sitting down, encouraging them to get up and dance like everyone else. Without hesitation, they happily obliged.
I had preconceived notions about The Chainsmokers before the show and never had been a huge fan. As I previously stated, 5 Seconds of Summer were the sole reason I bought a ticket in the first place. If there was an EDM act to follow with a few hits I knew, it was just an added bonus.
But, bonus is not the word I would use to describe it. The DJ-duo set, composed of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, took the stage with high energy, but it often fell short.
Relying heavily on stage design, with pyrotechnics and a giant hamster ball that Taggart performs in, the show shifted entirely from their previous acts. While it is their headline tour, it almost seems like they strategically chose artists that would approach music differently in hopes of gathering a bigger crowd. Or, they like both 5SOS and Stella, which is possible, but essentially, a public relations perplexity.
With their library consisting of mostly features, there was no real singing on stage, either. The setlist included a variety of covers and originals, which allowed for the crowd to engage a bit more with lyrics they have a better chance of knowing. By the end of their set, the venue allowed people from the 300 sections to come down to the pit for free to fill up space.
While some might argue that EDM is a different kind of music that elicits a different response, I didn’t necessarily feel like it was a real EDM show, either. Taggart sang throughout the show, covering up verses by artists other than him, often drawing a weird response from the audience.
There is irony in complaining about a live-show just because it might be different than what you are used to, or expect. However, I danced without complaint and made the most of it. My friend and I stood towards the back of the pit and watched in awe when the drummer played a solo with his drumsticks on fire, or when 5SOS came out to play their collaboration, “Who Do You Love?”
The fact that these three artists, stretching along the spectrum, can gather a crowd in Madison just illustrates that there's a love for music out there that is stronger than personal taste.
Emily Knepple is a staff writer for The Daily Cardinal. To read of her work, click here.