Illenium @ observatory Santa ana
DEC 9th, 2016
DJ and producer, Nick Miller, better know by his stage name, Illenium, truly brought the house down last Friday. His performance was creative, spontaneous, and beautifully executed.
The night started off with a series of openers. Dyphekta was the initial act, bringing out a wonderful compilation of bass house tunes to get the crowd warmed up. His mixing was seamless, energetic, and a wonderful start to the night. Following Dyphekta was none other than William Black, of whom I must admit, I’d never heard of before. However, I was pleasantly surprised with his performance. Black brought up the energy of the room and proved to be an appropriate second act. His style more closely resembled that of Illenium’s, filled with melodic future bass and the occasional dubstep banger. The third and final openers of the night were Orange County’s very own DJ duo, Armnhmr. Their performance was oozing with energy, featuring a nice blend of progressive house, big room, dubstep, and of course future bass.
With the crowed pumped and ready to rumble, it was time for the main act, the guy everyone had been anxiously waiting for, the king of future bass himself… Illenium. He did not disappoint. The overall production was flawlessly executed, and the visuals team proved more than capable. The images flashing behind him were incredibly beautiful and brought a unique vibe to each song he mixed into. Supplementing the visuals were an impressive array of pyrotechnics and lighting, complete with smoke, confetti, and bright, colorful lights.
In terms of the music itself, everything was impeccable and flowed beautifully. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he included a variety of different kinds of electronic sub-genres in his mix. Illenium is typically known for his mellow, inspirational future bass tunes; however, he included plenty of house, dubstep, and trap tracks in his performance, which only added to this spectacular set and maintained an active performance.
Aside from Illenium’s obvious skills in live mixing, what really gave this show its “wow factor” was his creative integration of live drumming and keyboarding to his DJ mixing. These little additions really gave the audience a completely new experience. Typically, electronic DJs and artists don’t include any live instruments into their main act; everything is done on CDJs (club standard turntables used in virtually every EDM event), where prerecorded tracks are continuously mixed into each other. The crowd seemed to respond really well to Illenium’s unconventional performance. Fists were pumping, heads were banging, crowd-surfers were riding the mosh pit, and there was even a fan running around in a T-Rex costume.
It goes without saying; Illenium’s concert was a refreshing, fun, and incredibly awesome way to spend a Friday night after a long, hard week of finals, but it was also a game changer. Illenium opened new possibilities for electronic music events to come. I will definitely be on the lookout for any future shows he may have here in Orange County. He is a must see artist everyone should have on their musical bucket-list.