Every once in a while a tour comes through our city of brotherly live that provides us with the many diverse sounds that electronic dance music has to offer. Stacked lineups featuring headlining talent from start to finish allow for some of the best nights we get each season. This fall, a massive lineup was announced for Friday, November 18th. The ‘Journey Tour’ made a stop at District N9ne last Friday featuring artists from both sides of the EDM dichotomy. Representing the house/trance side was Anjunabeats up and comer ‘Grum’ who has shown the world that he is one of the most promising acts of future years. Being compared to the likes of Eric Prydz, we were very excited to see his performance. For the heavier side of dance music bass artists ‘Xilent’ and ‘Pegboard Nerds’ represented and brought with them their own original sounds within the genre of dubstep. Finally, our headliner and the organizer of the whole tour was ‘Seven Lions’ who is known for playing some of the most diverse and surprising sets in the industry. If you missed our recent interview with Seven Lions you can catch it here. The night was set to be one that this city would never forget, and we headed down to District N9ne early to catch all of the acts.
Grum was up first and highly exceeded our expectations. We knew he was talented, but wasn’t expecting what he gave to us. His blend of progressive house and trance seemed to open the room perfectly. As the first opener, it was clear he knew his place in the lineup and warmed up the room with light anthems that would not overwhelm the audience in the way a headliner should. However, he was still able to impress us heavily. His sound is extremely influenced by the label he is on, Anjunabeats, and its a sound this culture has grown to love. We were giddy with excitement moving onto the next set.
Xilent was up next and through the course of his time on stage began the major theme of the night, diversity. Playing genres from all over the map, he was surprisingly able to stay within the bounds of his own sound and never divert from it too much. Similar to Grum, he played a lot of music that we do not get to hear on any average night at a show. His stage presence was stellar and one could really tell that he was loving the music he was playing and the show he was putting on for the audience. The venue was truly electric and the night was still young!
Finally, the last opener took the stage. Pegboard Nerds, a name that has been household for EDM fans for years, played their hearts out for the audience. While their sound selection wasn’t as good as we have seen it before, their originals went off with the fans attending and their sections of heavier dubstep during their set seemed to go over best with the crowd. Their set was diverse however, continuing the theme through the final opening slot. Their energy was high, and their ability to connect to the crowd in front of them was stellar, they definitely had the right touch in whipping attendees into a frenzy and getting the stage set for Seven Lions.
Seven Lions holds a special place in the heart of Philadelphians. Since his first performance here a few years ago, he has always been a favorite of the city’s EDM fans. His shows are always packed to the brim, and people who may have left the scene or don’t attend shows anymore always seem to come out of the woodwork for him. Rightfully so, as he has yet to disappoint us. Friday was no exception. Jeff (Seven Lions) took the stage to massive screams and cheers from his fans. Over the course of the next two hours, he took us on a journey through as many genres as we can name in electronic music. What was the most surprising aspect of his performance was reliance and continual return to the genre of trance throughout the set. Trance is a relatively niche genre with a very specific and select group of dedicated fans. It does not make its way into the mainstream very often. However, Seven Lions perfectly crafted it as the central aspect of his set to accompany his melodic dubstep anthems that fans have come to know and love. In recent months it has seemed that Jeff has taken his talents more towards the progressive house and trance side of EDM, and we were overjoyed to hear his own anthems within that side of his discography. We laughed, we cried, and we would do it all over again in a heart beat if we had the chance. Seven Lions continued his reign as one of the kings of dance music in Philadelphia on Friday night, and we left the venue praying to the electronic gods for his return soon.