Kaskade took over the Shrine Expo Hall on Saturday to close out his Atmosphere tour with three sold out nights for those die hard fans, old school ravers and newbie EDM fanatics. Fans traveled from San Francisco and beyond, some even attended all three days to see their beloved favorite DJ play one of the most memorable shows of his career. Everyone donned posters, t-shirts, kandi bracelets and even rave outfits as they showed their inner freaks - remember the Freaks of Nature Tour? For an artist with so much critical acclaim as the "America's Best DJ" title holder for the second year, Grammy nomination for his 2011 release Fire & Ice, the 10 year anniversary of his first release with a It's You, It's Me Redux Tour, and recent residency at the Wynn in Las Vegas; this eighth studio release falls under a lot of pressure and so does the tour.
Yet despite the stale state of EDM right now, the DJ born Ryan Raddon delivered something different, unique and respectfully his own with Atmosphere. "The single is special for me since it is the first time I sing on one of my tracks and with receiving a Grammy nomination for the first time ever on my last album, this album feels that more precious to me because I really want to deliver in a big way," says Raddon. He delivered in a way some fans may not have been expecting with tracks like LAX to JFK with little drops and more deep house grooves of his early days. The vocals and melodies in songs like "No One Knows Who We Are" reminded his fans however, why they fell in love with dance music in the first place. With only a handful of stops in Miami, Brooklyn, Chicago and LA he said, "I'm looking forward to making each show massive and really count like never before."
How can an artist be more massive than selling out the Staple's Center last summer you wonder? To start the EDM scene is much bigger and in just a year thousands of new fans have fallen entranced with the Kaskade sound. Opener Amtrac set that old school club vibe with lots of deep house grooves as the Shrine began to fill up. In a way it felt like going to your first rave all over again. Meeting up with friends, finding the bar and locating a spot where the music's good and you can still dance. The show felt more like an intimate set strictly for the fans with vocalist Skylar Grey singing "Room for Happiness" and Lights singing "No One Knows Who We Are."
Kaskade went hard delivering his bests mash-ups and edits while giving us a sense of nostalgia as he played lots of older tracks from his Dynasty album. He even pulled a disappearing act as he switched to the other side of the room to give us older folks who don't like to be up in the crowd anymore a chance to see him up close. By far one of the best sets we've seen from him in a while--no recycled EDM bangers like at major festivals and lots of love for his fans as well as his craft. Impromptu dance parties even broke out in the parking lot after the show was over. Nobody wanted to leave or for the night to end.
Critical Bias:Kaskade was one of the first DJs I fell in love with and after seeing him countless times the expectations were low and I was refreshingly pleased with the production, song selection and overall atmosphere of the show (no pun intended).
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Crowd: A very much younger crowd than you would expect at a club show.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Are you rolling yet" still prevalent with plenty of kids under the influence even after Kaskade has encouraged to feel the music without them.
Random Notebook Dump: We wished we caught that set at Sound nightclub on Thursday though. Guess the underground sound is still limited for weeknights in LA.