October 22, 2014

Midweek Mania: Avicii Rocks Foxwoods

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Four on the floor

Mashantucket, Conn.—Picture this: You’re dancing in a decidedly upscale room among a group of beautiful people dressed in tighter, more expensive clothes than you thought possible, roped off from the rest of the cattle and sipping expensive bottles of champagne delivered with sparks flying from the affixed firework.

Booming four-on-the-floor house music is emanating from a custom Funktion-One sound system. A toothy smile graces the face of a world-renowned DJ. Moving lights and strobes overwhelm your vision. Flecks of light glitter from particles of “snow” released from overhead. Full-colored laser beams bounce vigorously around the club and terminate in said DJs name etched out on the rear wall.

Is this Miami? Las Vegas? Ibiza? Nope – it’s Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Never heard of it? Apparently, neither had the 21-year-old, Swedish-born DJ, Avicii (aka Tim Bergling), as he pushed aside his headphones and jokingly commented to me, “I never even heard of Connecticut.”

Mashantucket’s only claim to fame is the Foxwoods Resort & Casino. Its Asian-themed restaurant and nightclub, Shrine, is where we found ourselves on a recent Tuesday night for this evening of global house music.

Avicii wowed the packed crowd with a full-on assault of festival-like familiar vocals, uplifting melodic breaks, and trancey house music. He fostered a sing-a-long, hands-in-air lovefest via his original hits “Bromance,” “My Feelings For You,” and his remixes, “Rapture” and “Sweet Dreams.” It wasn’t too far removed from the parties thrown by fellow countrymen Swedish House Mafia—euphoric, epic, fun.

Tech Talk: Avicii uses a minimal setup by housing all his music on three USB sticks and playing on three Pioneer CDJ-2000s and a Pioneer DJM-800 mixer. His mixing style is flawless, if straightforward – one song into another with not much in the way of loops or a cappellas. Interestingly, this new-school DJ actually lowers the volume of the booth monitors as he begins to mix with split cue in his headphones.

The venue staff and the promoters, AfterDark and Volume Promotions, were over-the-top accommodating (unlike many of those major city clubs). The sound system may be Funktion-One, but it was a little underwhelming in that room. The bass was sufficient, but the high end disappeared in the mass of bodies – over 600 presales tickets sold and about 700 in attendance.

Quibbles aside, this was a coming-out event for New England nightlife, which saw Connecticut and Rhode Island folk partying like they’d just discovered the joys of house music (which some may well have). Either way, it was a great night for those in attendance and for Sweden’s next top DJ—Avicii.
– Robert LaFrance

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