Diplo & AXE Keep Athens Well-Fed, Smelling Fresh—For “One Night Only”

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40 Watt Night: Diplo turned on the college crowd. © Sam Janjua

Athens, Ga. – This past Friday the genre-defying DJ and producer known as Diplo transformed the 40 Watt Club, Athens’ historic indie-rock stomping ground, into an EDM madhouse. With Lunice and Chiddy Bang in tow, he tore the roof off one final time to conclude AXE “One Night Only”, a seven-date headlining tour of college campuses across the U.S.

Tickets were free, but only for those worthy enough. Specific dates and locations were announced via AXE’s Twitter and Facebook pages just days before each event, and the only way for hungry college students to nab tickets was to chase down the AXE bus and demonstrate their undying love for all things Diplo.

Up in Charlotte, UNCC students could be seen stripping down to their underwear in the pouring rain, performing their best “worm” dance to please the almighty AXE ticket-bearers. For University of Georgia students in Athens, a simple “Go Dawgs!” and some boisterous barking seemed to suffice.

For those with no shame, begging via Twitter might have gotten your name on the list. One crafty fan even threatened to fill the 40 Watt with Old Spice deodorant spray if AXE didn’t cough up some tickets!

Following solid opening sets by Lunice and Chiddy Bang, a multitude of foam glowsticks were distributed, and the man of the hour walked onstage, sporting a Liturgy Aesthethica t-shirt. In trademark goofy Diplo fashion, the first thing he said to the screaming mob, some 500-strong, was, “Who wants some fruit?” He then proceeded to toss oranges and tomatoes into the crowd, continuing this ridiculousness throughout his set.

Never bound by genre, Diplo expertly intertwined his own sassy beats with hip-hop hits such as Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Niggas in Paris,” A$AP Rocky’s “Peso,” and Tyler The Creator’s “Yonkers.” We never figured out what set him off mid-set when he played Darude’s “Sandstorm”—maybe someone wasn’t getting their daily intake of vitamin C?—but luckily, we were only punished momentarily.

Crowd favorites included “Que Que” (a collaboration with Dillon Francis, featuring Maluca), “C’mon” (a collaboration with Tiësto), “Paper Planes” (the hit he produced for M.I.A.), the venerable “Pon De Floor” (released as Major Lazer), “Express Yourself” (his latest single from his upcoming EP, complete with a much-appreciated front-row champagne shower), and an unreleased Major Lazer track.

Diplo treated us to at least seven “last songs” to close the night out,  the anticipation growing each time as he shouted, “This is my last track, guys!” Of course, this was shortly followed by, “Oh, you want one more?”

Alas, the night did eventually come to an end, though the exhausted crowd was clearly satisfied with the pandemonium that had just occurred. Thanks, Mr. Diplo.