By Zachary Swickey
Diplo graced Madison’s Majestic theatre and he’ll touch down on six more college campuses before the run is over. On Tuesday, the mood was ecstatic: If you could only hear the set, you might not have known that there were fewer than 600 fans at the show because they had the energy of Leonidas’ “300” soldiers.
The college crowd greeted hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang with insane enthusiasm as they launched into the title track from their sophomore effort, “Breakfast.” Frontman Chiddy (a.k.a. Chidera Anamege) had no problem working the crowd like a vet. Some highlights for the fans included the singles “Truth” and “The Good Life.” However, it came as no surprise that their smash hit “Opposite of Adults” (you know, the one that samples MGMT’s “Kids”) generated the loudest roars of the entire set.
It wasn’t long before the man himself, Diplo, hit the stage shouting, “Maaadison Decent,” a riff on the name of his label, Mad Decent. Donning a leather jacket wrapped around a neon-green Gwar T-shirt, the producer dropped a sample from Tyler, the Creator’s unmistakable “Yonkers,” and the crowd went absolutely ape. Fans were soon bouncing their giant glow sticks in the air to the beat.
That brilliant mix was immediately followed by Jigga’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” but he kindly muted the track’s chorus so that the crowd could chant it back to him before he righteously dropped the beat back in. Diplo then interrupted the track with his biggest smash to date, M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” asking the crowd to “hold their guns in the air” during the song’s notorious gun-shot sampling moments.
It was at this moment that I feared the entire venue would come crumbling down on us as the bass shook the walls and fans bounced so hard it felt like being onboard a ship in choppy waters. But Diplo wasn’t even close to calling it a night.
“Y’all realize this party is just getting started, right?” After which he grabbed himself a bottle of champagne, jumped up onto a ledge and proceeded to hose down the audience with the beverage.
The crowd’s fervor reached new levels when Diplo asked, “Y’all want to hear a new Major Lazer track?” As he launched into the untitled number, the Chiddy Bang crew joined him onstage as unofficial hypemen for their Philly pal. I had lost my view of the DJ for a moment when I suddenly spotted him scaling the side of the balcony. Reaching the top, Diplo spread open his arms and stage-dove into the crowd, who gladly caught him as he crowd-surfed back to the booth.
Next, Diplo invited the ladies to join him onstage as he dropped his newest single, “Express Yourself.” (If you’ve seen the video for the song, the ladies-only invitation will make total sense.) It didn’t take long for dozens of college girls to swarm him. At the track’s end, Diplo politely asked the ladies to leave the stage, dropping Gotye’s breakout hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” in a wild mix.
But a night with Diplo is not complete without one staple: Major Lazer’s “Pon De Flor.” Diplo then busted out a mix that showcased A$AP Rocky’s killer track “Peso” before annihilating the crowd with the Watch the Throne smash “N—as in Paris,” which had everyone reciting the lyrics. The night wrapped up after two hours of pure insanity. The crowd was clearly sad the mayhem was over but they couldn’t have appeared more content.
The AXE One Night Only Tour continues but you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled to AXE’s Facebook and Twitter pages to find out the specifics. Each city’s date is announced with just one or two days notice, keeping it guerilla style. If you’re lucky enough to attend, be careful not to lose your voice as you scream for more.
Will you catch Diplo on his campus tour? Tell us in the comments!