Live Review: Diplo, Post Malone, Anna Lunoe & Nina Las Vegas

13 March 2017 | 1:44 pm | Matt O'Neill

"There's no delicate way to describe it. It was in no way a delicate experience."

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It's rare to see artists with the pedigree of Anna Lunoe and Nina Las Vegas in such an early slot. But, in a testament to their experience and professionalism, both veterans delivered a pitch-perfect warm-up introduction for tonight's bill.

Highly eclectic and littered with mashed up transitions, Lunoe & Vegas' set was a masterful demonstration of how to smoothly increase intensity to build anticipation for a headliner without jarring a crowd or forcing proceedings — gradually shifting from rolling mid-tempo hip hop to harder grooves over the course of their set. The only real hiccup were some odd fluctuations in volume that occasionally wreaked havoc with the dynamics of the pair's set.

Post Malone, by contrast, somewhat squandered the ideal introduction provided by his predecessors. His decision to precede his performance proper with an unremarkable hype set from his DJ actually killed much of the evening's momentum. Fortunately, Malone's charisma and voice (and following) is substantial enough to ensure his eventual appearance was something worth celebrating. There's something genuinely haunting (and hauntingly genuine) in cuts like Big Lie and, especially, Too Young that is only amplified in performance — leading to a set that was hedonistically celebratory but shot through with melancholy.

Of course, Diplo's performance lacked such emotional nuance. Because it was, in essence, perfect. There's no delicate way to describe it. It was in no way a delicate experience. Introducing himself with a bass drop of such monolithic proportions one could almost hear the sub-woofers cracking, Diplo began his set with devastating authority and mysteriously — miraculously — only proceeded to deliver progressively greater extremes of intensity. Diplo's expertise in his field is well-documented but, two decades into his career, it's frankly remarkable that he can still deliver such a faultless performance. Especially given its lack of nostalgia.

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In reality, Diplo breaks most rules of any conventional DJ set. His (already off-kilter) rhythms rarely stay static for more than a minute. Each colossal bass drop is rarely heard more than twice. He'll drop a completely left field cut like George Michael's Careless Whisper into a set of pure trap aggression (and ride the left field drop longer than any actual drop). It is monumentally nonsensical. But, conversely (perversely?), he'll never lose the energy of the room. Breaking every rule of a DJ set, he'll still deliver a quintessential example of the form's best results.

An utter blinder of a performance.