Fall WILD: We loved it
After the day’s festivities, WILDs in the past have always seemed like a bit of an anti-climax. Between the students who don’t make it and those who prefer enjoying the inflatable couches to dancing, the energy never seems to match the hype behind the event.
This WILD was noticeably different. Despite the fact that Icona Pop is only really known for one or two songs and the openers were relatively unknown up-and-coming artists, the night proved to be up to the task of entertaining a crowd of rowdy and easily distracted college kids. Icona Pop, Lowell and Five Knives stopped off at Washington University as part of their Campus Consciousness tour (Social Programming Board brought third opener GRiZ in separately), and it was clear that this was not their first rodeo: each act had a streamlined live show and knew how to keep the crowd hyped up and engaged.
In fact, it was probably the biggest crowd left at the end of WILD in recent memory, proving that, although most Wash. U. students might pretend to like music that doesn’t get played on the radio, there’s a Top 40 pop lover in a lot of us. Or maybe it was just the alcohol talking (and dancing).
Swedish pop/disc-jockey duo Icona Pop (aka Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo) started off its set strong with “All Night,” and although it may have been a risky move to pull out one of the well-known songs early, it was the right one. The track got the crowd dancing and singing from minute one of Icona Pop’s show, and the momentum lasted for the whole set, even as the duo played some of the lesser-known songs from its debut 2013 album “This Is… Icona Pop.”
Instead of a rambling, poorly engineered show a la Chance the Rapper, it was clear that Icona Pop has perfected its set list and timing, and although its energy might have felt a little forced at times, the mass of students didn’t seem to mind and played along with the duo’s onstage antics. Icona Pop’s songs may all sound the same, and it’s not exactly pushing any boundaries with its dance-pop style, but the band’s combination of simple lyrics (perfect for singing along) and catchy hooks seems made for the stage and converting a crowd fast.
And it worked. Considering the pair has been touring steadily for the past year and hasn’t released new music, the set was pretty similar to the show it put on during its appearance at LouFest last year. Either way, Icona Pop seems to have a winning formula down for an exciting and engaging live show, and for that hour and a half on Friday night, it felt like the band had converted at least some of Wash. U.
The real star of the night, however, was opener DJ GRiZ, who stormed onto the stage in Brookings Quadrangle ready to take over a crowd of students who had probably never heard of him before the night. His lineup of bass-thumping, saxophone-laced tracks was the perfect edgier complement to the bubblegum dance of Icona Pop, ramping up the energy while introducing the audience to his unique style of dance music, influenced as it is by everything ranging from soul to funk to jazz.
His addition of live saxophone pushed the live show beyond the usual stand-at-the-decks DJ routine and created a much more complex and exciting set. Although GRiZ may not have been the headliner at WILD, he certainly stole the show.
All in all, it was a surprisingly successful WILD considering the fact that there didn’t seem to be much on-campus excitement leading up to the event. Hopefully SPB can carry the momentum going into the event next spring.