MARSHMELLO ABILITY TO CONNECT WITH DIVERSE AUDIENCE SETS ARTIST APART
Copy by Gabriella Lettow — BTS Intern
Photos by Morganne Gau — BTS Intern
As I clunked my medical boot up the stairs of the bus, I thought, “what did I get myself into?” Well, turns out I was in for several dozens of more stairs after that. Despite my inability to properly walk, I moved around Red Rocks all night and had several opportunities to experience the show and the crowd. While I was trudging up the stairs of the venue from the bathroom a man with prosthetic legs sympathized with me, and we even joked about the challenging walk. Why was I in a boot, you ask? Well, that’s HIPPA protected information… so mind your own.But as more people with crazy outfits flooded into the venue, my boot faded out of my memory. People of all ages were decked out in Marshmello attire—from moms with necklaces, to dudes with hats, to girls with shirts, to kids with their faces painted—and everyone seemed excited to celebrate the evening together.
Yultron’s music was already playing as I entered the venue and it was quite unexpected to hear such heavy EDM right off-the-bat. Most people had never heard of him before, and he definitely surprised the crowd with his energy and his taste in music. I overheard many people around me asking who he was and where they might have heard of him before. He is quite a popular artist on Soundcloud with almost 63K followers, who remixes a variety of songs into some very catchy EDM (https://soundcloud.com/yultron). Although he played a great set, his music might have done better with a crowd who was expecting more heavy beats, like as an opener for Excision.
After a short break between acts, Ookay (pronounced “okay”)—an artist who is becoming incredibly well-known around the world took the stage. He has worked with artists like Diplo to remix songs like Avicii’s “You Make Me” and The Chainsmokers’ “Kanye.” The crowd seemed to really appreciate the sleek transitions between his songs, as well as his song selections. He seamlessly played a keytar as he remixed songs. What is a “keytar,” you might ask? Well, I didn’t know either! A keytar is a lightweight electric keyboard for the major-jammer musician who loves to hop & bob around the stage! From the distance I was standing at the concert I had no idea that Ookay was playing legitimate live music, and not just DJing songs. When I saw some photos of him on stage later, I was even more impressed.
The last opener, Oliver Heldens, was the biggest surprise of the night. His music sounded less like an EDM concert and had more of a deep house vibe. What made his music so unique was that it still had the ability to make people dance without feeling like they need to go bananas. He played many of his original songs and remixed many others. His music was enhanced by his use of the laser lights that seemed to bounce off the crowd and onto the rocks. He ended the opening acts by setting a very high bar for Marshmello.
Being a semi-avid Red Rocks & EDM concert goer, it can be easy to forget that this genre of music is able to attract to the young, the old, and the in-between. Since I listen to EDM regularly it can seem as if it only appeals to my specific age demographic (lol… simple-minded millennial). The music itself was appropriate for all ages but seemed to lean more toward a younger audience. After talking with a few kids and families sitting around me, I learned that Marshmello is an artist who is regularly featured on Radio Disney. Could this really be true? IT IS! Marshmello’s song “Friends” is not only listed in the top 100 favorite Radio Disney songs list, but Marshmello has actually encouraged his Twitter followers in the past to vote for his song on a Radio Disney poll. Despite the accommodations to such a young crowd, Marshmello still threw-down an amazing set with its own “trap-fest” feel to it.
In addition to his Radio Disney fan-base, Marshmello has found ways to connect with several other generations and subcultures, and it was unique to see all of these people who have connected with Marshmello’s music come together to enjoy his live performance in one venue. The role of popular culture clearly plays a big function in making Marshmello who he is as an artist. He even uses the popular game Fortnite to better connect with these different audiences. The crowd especially enjoyed his pre-planned joke about revealing Will Ferrell as Marshmello before he took the stage, which highlighted the influence of popular culture in his work.
One of the most touching components of the show was when Marshmello paid tribute to Avicii by remixing several of his songs, interspersed with his frequently administered advice to “be good to one another.” Avicii sadly committed suicide in late April after struggling for years with mental health issues.
The crowd spent the entire night singing and dancing along to popular throwback songs while also enjoying the illuminating effects of the lights. It was a pleasant surprise to see how he incorporated full-sized rainbows into the background of the stage. Marshmello used visuals to his advantage by using big flames of fire and large, beautiful sparklers on stage. The background screen was full of animated videos featuring Marshmello’s face as Pac Man eating pellets, Marshmello’s face in duplicate/triplicate/quadruplicate, Marshmello’s face in an inception, etc. It seemed that all eyes were hooked on the stage from beginning to end. What a lovely surprise it was to see how many different people were able to enjoy their night. Based on his ingenuity as a popular artist, it would be no surprise to see Marshmello writing the soundtrack to the next Star Wars film…….. The End. :)
HUGE shoutout to AEG for allowing us to experience Marshmello with press passes! You guys are the best.