A trip to Syracuse turned an ordinary Thursday night, which most likely would have consisted of playing 2K and listening to Odesza, into one of the craziest experiences of my life. After about an hour’s drive, followed by a 10-minute walk through the freezing weather (Syracuse cold hits different for some reason), we entered the Westcott Theater near Syracuse University’s campus. The venue is small and intimate, almost as if someone took half of Klarman atrium, turned off the lights and put down a stage.
The floor was riddled with White Klaws, and the smell of Juul and THC filled the air. The crowd was thin at first. It was mostly made up of people realizing that Loud Luxury wouldn’t go on until close to 11 and then complaining about how they started rolling way too early.
When the first opener went on, people started filing in. No one knows the name of the mysterious first DJ, but he was awesome. Mysterious DJ number one spun mostly trance-type tracks, and he certainly got the crowd going. There was quick DJ change about an hour into the night, and on came mysterious DJ number two (although this DJ said his name, it was mumbled and no signs/setlists were posted anywhere). Unfortunately, DJ number two did not do so hot. He was a little too into disco and the dancing was just too much. If you can’t dance, like me, keep your moves subtle. He was met with constant booing, but props to him for sticking it out for the full hour set. He was bad, but it was clearly just an off night.
Thank god for Black Caviar, the New York City-based EDM group which has been gaining notoriety on the festival scene, for saving the day. They played a lot of great remixes, but the highlight of their set was certainly their bass remix of “Mo Bamba,” which made that song cool again. They had the shortest set of the night, which is super unfortunate, as I could’ve listened to them for a few hours and been totally satisfied.
Loud Luxury sauntered onto the stage around 11 p.m., and they tore the house down. The set was almost two hours, and the crowd did not stop dancing the entire time. They played remixes of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” and Travis Scott’s “Wake Up,” but they also played quite a few unreleased tracks of their own. Everyone needs to watch out for them to drop “Cold Feet” as it has the potential to get a lot of radio play. Of course, they closed their set with “Body,” which has been a staple at Cornell and Syracuse parties since its release. It brought different energy live, and the experience doesn’t compare at all to watching a Cornell frat bro mix it in following “Sicko Mode.”
Their set was vibrant and sophisticated. Unlike with a lot of EDM, they didn’t need to count down to drops or verbally signal where the songs were going. They let the music speak for itself, and it paid off. Loud Luxury’s visuals were perfectly synced to their set as well. The lights were blinding, yet if you closed your eyes, a surreal image of the stage was still in your vision.
Loud Luxury, while they certainly haven’t reached superstardom, made a statement Thursday night in Syracuse. They are on the EDM scene to stay. But maybe the biggest takeaway was that Syracuse simply knows how to have a good time way better than Cornell does. People seemed more connected; it was clear that everyone was genuinely happy to be there. I know we can’t ask for that level all the time, given the work and the stressful environment we face, but Cornell needs to learn some lessons from schools and communities like Syracuse. Get into the music, dance and, above all else, stop standing in corners and not talking to each other. You can learn a lot from one another, and Loud Luxury’s concert proved that theory.
Peter Buonanno is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves as the arts editor on The Suns editorial board. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @peterfredericb.