Seattle was treated to the whole Major Lazer experience Saturday night. Diplo and crew took the Main Stage in a perfect time slot following Aesop Rock’s set that had people crammed into Pike Street like fish on ice. At first I began to think that maybe Major Lazer was not ready for Seattle, as the signature drops just weren’t resonating with the body-shaking volume they should’ve been, but about four songs in it seemed the DJs found the volume knob and turned it up to overwhelming.
Part of the appeal of Major Lazer’s dancehall on DMT shtick is the constant oscillation of glitched-out squeals tensely building to bumping bass drops, which they delivered that time and time and time again for an hour and a half (dudes, you don’t need to yell at Diplo to “Drop the Beat!”; he knows what to do). The other part is the stage show; ML’s musical fantasy world entails several gimmicks to get the crowd “free,” including calling for the crowd to disrobe (and disrobing themselves), fly girl dancers, confetti, a hypeman, and of course, lazers.
Dancehall on DMT
The whole reggaeton troop ran through mixes of Major Lazer numbers, while the crowd, primed by Seattle sunshine and a whole day of Capitol Hill Beer Garden chicanery, absolutely lost their shit. There was a constant flow in the crowd of people escaping, pushing forward, jumping, dancing, and otherwise acting a fool. (overheard: "Anyone got weed?" "Anyone got molly?" and "Sorry for acting like a complete fucking douchebag!")
The air turned to weed smoke, and everyone (following Diplo’s demands) was shirts off and slick with sweat. Some playfully anarchistic apartment dwellers above the crowd used super squirters and buckets to drench the under-21 side of the street, so the hypeman worked that into the show, too, commanding showers of water to be timed with the bass drops.
The best moment of the night, however, was not the shirtless girls from the crowd called to dance on stage, or the lucky male member called up to lay down on stage so that the Major Lazer dancing ladies could express themselves all over his face, but the expertly placed MCA tribute near the end of the set that got everyone rapping along to the Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic." It was then, while enjoying the marijuana and molly mix of electronic meets dancehall, I got a little lump in my throat watching all the Capitol Hill Block Party people bounce in unison, like one huge, sweaty, drunk, dancing organism.