Trembling hands extend up out of the dark sea of adolescents, clutching their glowing iPhones to capture the momentous occasion. The previously chaotic group now awaits the upcoming act in silence, broken only by random shouts and whistles. A low rumble pours out of the towering speakers as three jets of smoke shoot into the air. An encircled “10,” flashes in gold on the dark screen, illuminating the stage and prompting more shouts from the excited audience. Flashes of the performer’s green logo interrupt the countdown. The crowd’s enthusiasm builds along with the music as “5” appears and disappears in front of the logo with a green hue. When “4” flickers, the synths at the beginning of “Chasing Summers” emerge out of the building rumble. The crowd erupts. The moment has arrived. The green screen flashes a bright, white light while yellowish beams and a, now blue, screen brightens the crowd. As he steps up to the decks and wraps his headphones around his neck, “TI?ESTO” emerges onto the screen.
Last Tuesday, February 19, one of the top DJs in the world took the stage at the Oncenter in Syracuse. Colgate brought a good number of attendees to the audience, made possible by two bus rides. Event staff directed the anxious mass through hallways of the venue to a security checkpoint, in front of the double doors. Waiting for the awkward man to ask me to empty my pockets and spread my arms was miserable since I could already hear and feel Quintino, the first performer of the night, bumping the subwoofers.
Having been rescheduled due to a cancellation last fall, the show was highly anticipated with such a stacked line-up. Quintino and Tommy Trash and Ti?sto. In Syracuse. It sounded too good to be true. Any one of these DJs could be a headliner, and they proved it.
Still, the up-and-coming Dutch DJ, Quintino, had an epic performance. The unexpected drop of the hard-hitting bass line of his remix to Cedric Gervais’s “Molly” caused bodies to jump, creating waves in the sea of neon and glow-sticks. His new mix of house and thumping bass, “Jackpot,” reflects the sample voice and sound of coins before the drop. Yet, what would Quintino be without his most famous track, “Epic?” So, in fitting fashion, he stepped down from the booth as the club anthem echoed throughout the hall and “Quintino,” in block white letters, shined on the screen.
Tommy Trash blew away the audience with his vicious head-banging and powerful electro-house. With one spotlight focused on him and the rest protruding out into the crowd, he dropped “Reload” out of nowhere after a unique build-up. The waves of bouncing outstretched arms mirrored the thrashing golden locks behind the DJ booth. Playing one banger after another, Trash lead his audience on a roller coaster of sound, including “Cascade,” his remix of “The Veldt” and “Ladi Dadi,” my favorite, while a tile display of his signature logo sparkled on the screen behind him.
Though no one in attendance wanted Tommy’s set to come to an end, the build-up, anticipation and eventual opening of the headliner’s set was something I’ll never forget. Previously, I had never found myself on the Ti?sto bandwagon; his live performance changed that. He truly deserves to be ranked in the top three DJs in the world, his fingers never taking a break from pressing blinking buttons and turning rubbery knobs, flowing inconspicuously from one song to the next. His remix to “Clarity” by Zedd, as well as his original productions like “Pair of Dice” and “Maximal Crazy,” were obvious favorites. However, the raw bass drop after hearing “And then my skirt came down” in Nom de Strip & Bone’s “Shake & Bake” was the single best song of the night.
If you have not been lucky enough to see this musical genius live, toss that on the old bucket list now.