If you’re seeking an artistically inspired way to end 2016, look no further than Decadence on New Year's Eve and the night before. Featuring all electronic artists spanning a wide array of genres and styles, Decadence goes down at the Rawhide Western Town and Event Center in Chandler, AZ.
A lineup star is Porter Robinson, a very young dude who has reimagined his sound and created an album that delivers a truly inexplicable experience. I saw Porter twice recently and both sets were extremely memorable, and not merely re-hashes of other artists' sounds.
A common EDM criticism is it isn’t poetic enough to allow individual interpretations; where as with, rock and folk songs many people relate to the lyrics on their own terms and thus have a relationship with the music only they can fully understand. Robinson creates in his live sets, and in the music itself, a kind of personal experience for each of his listeners; he manages to hit on emotional levels. Unlike most DJs, his music takes you on a journey visually and melodically, if you pay attention. Robinson is inspired by modern Japanese culture and blends tweaked anime vocal samples and beautiful animation. The effect is like a psychic rollercoaster that hits soaring peaks of joy and plummets to lows of sadness.
For those who dig the more typical, communal experience of the EDM scene, Marshmello is also playing a set. A spin-off of Deadmau5 (who is also headlining), Marshmello sports an LED marshmallow helmet and wears all white. His music has a lot of sugary synths and “mellow” rhythms that bring out the little kid in you. The hip-hop inspired beats are easy to dance to and he welcomes all to just let loose and join his "mellogang.” His messages of family, community and acceptance spread wide over his listeners as we dance together in circles and freely hug one another.
Just as Daft Punk and Deadmau5 once did, Marshmello conceals his identity and tries hard to keep it a secret in order to embody his messianic-y message that we are all Marshmello. He’s also suggesting anyone can be successful at something they love. One of his newest tracks, "Alone,” tells the story of how lonely he felt when he first left his hometown, and everyone he knew, to head out on tour. Marshmello eventually realized he wasn’t alone because he had all of his family with him. His family, of course, is us. See?
In a world where status and wealth divide us, Decadence strives to bring us together for a night of celebration, creative visuals and dance. It seeks to kick off 2017 in a joyous way. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 30-31 at the Rawhide Event Center, 5700 W North Loop Rd., Chandler, Ariz. 5 p.m. each day. 18+. For more info, go to decadencearizona.com.