Avicii - Radio City Musical Hall - 9/26/2012

Radio City Music Hall
Wednesday, September 26

Better than: The Rockettes

In the promo video for last night's Avicii show, 52,171 viewers found the producer/DJ walking through the Times Square venue that he would soon play and sitting in the seats around which his fans would soon dance. "I mean Radio City, it feels unreal to play here," he says, taking care of the obligatory "I made it in New York" reflections ahead of time. Still, if you're looking for a word to describe how it feels to walk past the lobby sculptures of a theater best known for a precision dance team known as the Rockettes and an organ nicknamed "The Might Wurlitzer" while 6,000 kids dance to a European trance song with Lenny Kravitz vocals, "unreal" might be your best bet.

See Also:
- Live: Avicii Pumps (And Pumps) The Crowd At Lavo
- Live: Electric Daisy Carnival Covers Metlife Stadium In Candy And Beats
- Live: Madonna At Yankee Stadium

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Live: Madonna Brings Her Set Pieces, Sex Pieces, And Masterpieces To Yankee Stadium

Madonna w/ Avicii
Yankee Stadium
Thursday, September 6

Better than: The VMAs.

If ever you need a concise summary of Madonna's year, the billing for her New York dates will do nicely. There's Madonna, her name in no way styled to resemble that of a party drug. And there's Avicii, a Swedish stadium-dance wunderkind riding a mad-money trend of the same. They knew each other before, that sort of special connection that's only forged by stage-bantering about ecstasy and producing hand-waving freakoutery the blogs over. Madge ether pretended to deny or actually, earnestly denied all knowledge of a drug she namedropped in bleary MDNA track "I'm Addicted." Various DJs called her on her shit, then re-dredged the shit from all the '90s morality campaigns. Deadmau5 got involved, as part of his year of omnidirectional trolling. Nobody involved looked good, but Madonna had the most to lose. "Is it all over for Madonna?" the Telegraph gasped, hands wrung and headline begging for response, and though the piece was a mess, a strawman battlefield, name-dropping Dylan and Leonard Cohen and girls screaming for One Direction and-and-and the Authenticity Madonna supposedly forsook for unilaterally witless electro, the mostly sneering comments suggest the opinion wasn't unpopular.

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Live: The Electric Daisy Carnival Covers MetLife Stadium In Candy And Beats

Avicii at Electric Daisy Carnival. Check out more Electric Daisy photos from Saturday and Sunday.
Electric Daisy Carnival
MetLife Stadium
May 18-20

Better than: Sucking on lollipops without musical accompaniment.

The premise behind festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival creates an odd situation. By bringing a late-night world that typically exists in hot, dark rooms into the outdoors, the face paint and body glitter covering this dance music subculture's fans become illuminated by the harsh light of day.

The topic of "candy ravers" has become a bit of a cliché when discussing events like EDC, which made its New York debut this year after packing in crowds around the country for more than a decade. I'll do my best not to beat a dead horse, although in fairness the neon-and-sparkle combinations normally worn by people attending megaclubs like Pacha beg to be noticed. The combination of excessive makeup, bright colors, and minimal clothing made the spectacle even more of a sight.

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Madonna Searches For Molly, Finds Herself Embroiled In A Brand-New Controversy

Madonna at Ultra over the weekend.
Ultra Music Festival pummeled Miami's Bayfront Park last weekend, motivating innumerable fist pumps over thirty hours of music, but it was the brief speech by a 53-year-old woman wearing a shirt emblazoned with the letters "MDNA" that has prompted disbelief within parts of the electronic dance music community. That woman is Madonna, who as part of the scorched earth roll-out for her new album MDNA introduced headliner Avicii and incited the overwhelmingly young attendees with the question: "How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?"

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100 & Single: fun., Gotye, M83, EDM, And The Beginning Of The Hot 100's Spotify Years

The top three songs on Spotify, March 20, 2012. "Young" is at No. 1 on the Hot 100; "Know" is at No. 5; and "Came" is at No. 4.
How do you know when you're at the dawn of a new pop era?

It's not like someone sends a memo. Sure, occasionally there's a well-timed cultural event that offers a hint—the disastrous Altamont festival in December 1969, which signaled that the flower-power dream was over, or Comiskey Park's Disco Demolition Night in July 1979, which warned that dance music's days were numbered, at least with middle-American dudes. But even bright temporal lines like these only seem significant in retrospect, and they don't actually change the sound of young America overnight.

The same goes for the Billboard charts, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of pop. Occasionally you get a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 that feels like a revolution instantly. Or there's a blockbuster album that feels like a generational torch passing.

This week, the song sitting on top the Hot 100 doesn't necessarily sound like a revolution. But from its title on down, "We Are Young," the soaring, Janelle Monáe-assisted rock anthem by emo-pomp band fun, wants to be generational. Two weeks ago, fun. rampaged their way to the summit thanks to a pileup of digital sales. For each of the last two weeks, "We Are Young" has topped the very healthy sum of 300,000 downloads; it's the only song to roll that many weekly downloads in 2012, let alone do it twice.

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Oddsmaking: Is The Best Dance Recording Grammy Basically Skrillex's To Lose?

If you think the opinions of critics and passionate fans of rock and rap and pop and country mean nothing to the Grammy Awards, being a dance-music fan widens the gap that much more. Essentially, if you're allergic to bottle service and/or newbs with glow sticks, you're better off crying into your pitch-shifter. The bulk of this year's Best Dance Recording roster is out to party like it's 1999—specifically, that year's Ministry of Sound compilations, only dumbed further down. Yet that's notable in itself—part of a shift exemplified last December, when I this Top 40 back-announcement: "I heard that overseas three years ago. That's how far ahead of the curve Europe is when it comes to dance music." That pronouncement is this category—which has six nominees instead of five—in a nutshell.

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Radio Hits One: Flo Rida's Accidental Posthumous Tribute To Etta James

The late Etta James remained an active recording artist right up to the end, releasing her final album, The Dreamer, just two months before her death on January 20. But she hadn't been on a Billboard singles chart since the '70s, when a cover of Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart" from her 1978 comeback album Deep In The Night grazed the R&B chart at No. 93. So it feels remarkable, if not astronomically coincidental, that the biggest chart hit to feature James's voice peaked on the Hot 100 the week of her death.

Last year, Swedish dance music producer Avicii sampled a few a cappella patches of James's performance on the 1962 single "Something's Got A Hold On Me," which peaked at No. 4 on the R&B charts and No. 37 on the Hot 100 almost a full half century earlier. The resulting track, "Levels," topped the charts in several European countries, including Avicii's homeland. And soon enough, Avicii was in the studio with the King Midas of American pop radio, Dr. Luke, co-producing a single for Miami rapper Flo Rida based largely on "Levels" and its central sample. "Good Feeling" had been lurking in or just outside the U.S. top 10 for the last couple months of 2010, and had reached a peak of No. 3 the week Etta James passed away (it stayed there the week after, and dropped to No. 4 last week). Meanwhile "Levels" has enjoyed its own parallel Stateside success, topping the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and reaching No. 62 on the Hot 100.

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Live: Avicii Pumps (And Pumps) The Crowd At Lavo

Categories: Avicii, Live

Saturday, January 21

Better than: Sensory deprivation.

Anthropologically it was worth it; logistically a lot less so. Arriving to Lavo, on East 58th Street, at 11:45 on Saturday night is risky enough—it's a high-end bottle-service superclub, the kind dance snobs tend to avoid on principle. This past Saturday the mob was especially dense for the set by the young Swede super-house sensation Avicii, who's touring behind the laudable "House for Hunger" campaign; his management hosted a dinner beforehand across the street at Tao, which shares ownership with Lavo. His ties with David Guetta (whose last album Avicii appeared on) and the general excitement over dance music hitting the mainstream give him a lot of momentum.

Avicii's also got hits, and sometimes they're pretty good. The best is one he played on Saturday—something I'd been hearing around forever, always kind of liking, but never following up on—"My Feelings For You," a collaboration with Sebastien Drums. I remedied that lapse in knowledge during his set with my phone. It was one of the few times during the night when my fascination with what I was watching was matched by the music being played.

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