By Hazen Witmeyer @Hazengirl
You know that moment, like maybe when you watched Star Wars: the Force Awakens, when something exceeds your expectations by like 1,000%? That was me about 3 songs into Illenium’s set at the Shaky Beats music festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
It wasn’t that my expectations were low per se, although I wasn’t quite sure how he would sound since many of his songs on the album Ashes are a little more down-tempo than your average festival set. It’s just that he flat out killed it. In fact, he did such an amazing job that the guy next to me cried and said his life had peaked halfway through the set. I have no idea what other substances might have been involved, but the music clearly played a major role, and I understood what he was saying.
Illenium opened with an instrumental line that included several bars of “Tiny Fractures” and featured him playing drums. He then invited guest artists to play with him on “Afterlife.” Those of you who have read my reviews before including my recent write up of Vassy know that I am a hugely endeared to DJs who invite vocalists to join them in for live performances. This song was energetic, upbeat, and fun.
Illenium has produced a surprising number of insanely good original tracks, which he deftly remixed for the festival setting, to the delight (and occasional teary eye) of his fans. Among the best were Fortress, It’s All on U, my new favorite Sound of Walking Away, and my all-time favorite Tiny Fractures. And as every good DJ should, he mixed in some other tracks including Kaskade’s “Disarm You”, “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers, and Flume’s “Say It.”
After the set, Illenium came out from backstage to do autographs and pictures with fans. He was friendly, humble, and present as I enthusiastically told him how much I loved his music. He looked me in the eyes, gave my hand a shane, and seemed truly appreciative of my praise. EDM artists are the best!
So if you’re at EDC, or Electric Zoo, Electric Forest or one of the other festivals this summer where this phenomenal DJ is planning to play, don’t miss his set. Maybe I’ll see you there!