Four Reasons Lollapalooza Needs EDM
With the popularity of dance music surging, the target market has changed considerably. Avicii probably stated it best with his clothing alone as the 22-year-old DJ/producer took the stage wearing an unassuming black T-shirt and backwards-turned baseball hat, looking less like a rock star than a random college student that had wandered off of the field after a solid day of partying. It's an interesting shift, with artists trying to look more like their fans and not the other way around. Avicii tracks like "Seek Bromance" (ugh) and chart-topping "Levels" are now staples at your local kegger (right alongside "Don't Stop Believing") and the biggest-acts-of-the-moment nature of the festival circuit means having to cater to the new kings of party music.
Where Avicii takes his cues from turn-of-the-century trance and house, bridging the gap with radio-friendly pop, Gallic duo Justice feel most at home bending heavy metal guitars to the whims of spasmodic drums and grinding synth tones. The crowd had no trouble finding a bristling energy amidst all the distortion, clutching glowsticks and cups of beer
in each hand. But, after the tooth-rattling low end coming from the back-to-back dubstep acts (like Bassnectar, Zed's Dead, and Dr. P) appearing at Perry's, Justice sounded almost subdued in comparison. They took incredible sonic aggression and made it feel like a breezy, celebratory experience.
Photo by Erik Hess
The kids haven't really changed -- they always want the next thing to be 10 times louder. What started as a way to cater to a niche genre has turned into one of the biggest draws of the fest, with thousands of attendees content to spend their entire day bombarded by bass rather than playing hunt-and-peck with a diverse lineup. With all the cool moms and dads clogging up the stages elsewhere, this is where the young can feel free to be themselves. The last two years have undoubtedly been the biggest for dance music as
it spills out from its "designated area" to the massive headlining stages on either end of Grant Park.
Rock and roll may never die, but now it has some serious competition.