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Photo courtesy of François Levesque.

On top of their game: Diplo, Beirut and Skrillex

By François Levesque on July 15, 2012

It’s already the last weekend of Bluesfest. Bottle of water in hand, sunscreen all over my body and shades on my face, I headed out to Lebreton Flats yesterday afternoon where I checked out Diplo, Beirut and Skrillex.

Photo courtesy of François Levesque.

Diplo can be considered a super-producer. He’s worked with the likes of M.I.A., Robyn, Kid Cudi and Beyonce. I was a bit surprised to see him in the 6pm slot ahead of someone less established than himself such as Pretty Lights. Nevertheless, there was a big crowd on the main stage when he arrived at 6pm (not 6:30). He got right into it with crowd pleasers such as Pick Your Poison and toying with remixes from AC/DC, Blur, The Police, Beastie Boys and other. I managed to get myself close to the stage, right about where those awesome “Where’s Waldo” and “Diplo” heads were dancing. What got me most exciting was when Diplo whipped out the Major Lazer. The dance floor went crazy at anthems like Pon de floor.  The water guns were out in full force to keep the crowd as cool as could be in the sweltering heat. Diplo was cool, calm and collected – even when he went into his bubble – perhaps something he purchased off Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips?

Photo courtesy of Joelle Guedon.

Beirut‘s the kind of band that didn’t really fit on the night’s bill, but that’s just the eclectic nature of large music festivals. Nevertheless there was a packed house to see the Balkan/Mexican-inspired band, with its accordion, trumpets, ukulele and keyboards, bass,  drums, trombone and sousaphone! Led by singer Zach Condon, Beirut played a generous set with songs from across their catalogue to the pleasure of the swaying and cheering fans. One thing I found amazing – and it’s certainly a sign of a band on top of its game – is that song after song, the crowd reacted more strongly to the first notes of a tune. It’s as if the band knew exactly what to play to get the fans into it. It’s actually hard for me to pick a favourite song – they were all excellent – but I must admit that the sousaphone coming out made for impressive musical moments. Beirut did not disappoint, and I kind of wish they had continued playing through the night.

Photo courtesy of François Levesque.

As for Sonny Moore, aka Skrillex, well I lied in the intro. I wasn’t even excited to see him. Heck, I was checking out 10cc and Mastodon moments before when I saw the massive light show. Like a bug, the lights attracted me. And the spaceship. Wow, that spaceship was an awesome set up for Skrillex who wowed the crowd for almost two hours with a dazzling light show and an impeccable EDM set filled with some of his hits, a bit of reggae and a few other mixes to keep the older crowd (i.e. me) interested.  I’ve gotta give it to him, the man knows what he’s doing and it’s no wonder he’s the one leading the Full Flex Express tour in spite of his young age. Some have said that Skrillex and co. is music for glamour girls and boys in muscle shirts and it’s true, they were out in full force. But I think on this night, the Skrillex experience spoke to a much wider audience and the main stage bowl was filled with people of all ages, young and old. Skrillex is definitely on top of his game and shame on me (and perhaps you as well) for thinking that he just pushes buttons.

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