Chill Benefit show at Kimmel tries too hard to please
February 28, 2014
Purple, Giraffage and XXYYXX performed on Feb. 21 at the Kimmel Center for University Life as part of the Ski and Snowboarding Club’s Chill Benefit Show, organized by NYU Program Board. Despite the promise to be chill, the concert was anything but.
The show started an hour late because of technical issues. Students lined the stairwell in Kimmel awaiting the resolution of the problems. Once the venue was open, a different set of issues arose.
These three performing artists have similar performing styles, and it was clear that they all purposely catered to the demographic in attendance. They felt obliged to insert certain student-friendly characteristics into their sets that are otherwise quite uncharacteristic.
Purple, most well-known for his trap influences, set the precedent — because college students like rap, Purple decided to play the closest thing he could to rap without actually rapping.
Purple started his set surprisingly well. His beats were on point and he was laid back, pleasantly reminding us of acts like How to Dress Well — until he began singing.
This performer is a DJ who should not use his own voice as a sample, as he does not sound very good live. However, he used an interesting array of sounds that would serve him well during any other DJ set in the future.
Giraffage and XXYYXX overused trap influences like high-hat triplets, airy beats with bass lines on one and three and trite samples like “Party in the USA” in order to appeal to their audience.
Although reacting to your audience is the number one rule of a good DJ set, the whole process felt overdone and disingenuous.
Giraffage started out his set strong. Synth leads were complemented by vocal sampling and songs like “Music Sounds Better with You” and “Close to Me” won over the pumped-up, loyal fans.
Toward the end of the set, he faltered with the aforementioned Miley Cyrus song, as well as R. Kelly and Rich Boy samples that did not quite fit.
Finally, 18-year-old DJ Marcel Everett, better known as XXYYXX, came on. Although he messed up his intro — which he blamed on his Ableton — he won his excitable audience back with a great acoustic guitar sample track. Tracks like “You Are Why I’m Invisible,” which showcases his elaborate library of sounds and impressive rhythmic intuition, were followed by airy trap tunes with smooth drops.
The Chill Benefit show was an odd event and no one was sure what to expect. The atmosphere was a little off — perhaps due to the school-related venue — but the performances were mostly enjoyable, if a bit too obviously directed at college students.
Francesco Zenati is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.