Bandersnatch concert series

Riley: First Bandersnatch was lackluster, but enjoyable for students

Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

While Emera Riley thought Sam Feldt's performance was superficial, most students enjoyed the show.

In all fairness, not everyone hates house music. Most people at the concert actually enjoyed it; they danced, they cheered, they took well-posed selfies in dim lighting, showing off outfits that could fit in at Coachella. They liked the repetitiveness of the music, how easy it is to dance to and how one song bleeds into another.

I am not most people. I thought about how I would rather be home doing laundry, how I really need to clean my room, how I have a paper due soon. I did not think about how the music made me feel. I did not feel like I was sharing an experience with both the musician and the audience. The whole experience was empty.

House music essentially all sounds the same. It’s just jacked up, high-pitched vocals over terribly overproduced drum beats and phat drops. It bleeds into itself, an endless party of fun noise that is supposed to be enjoyable. But it’s not real.

No one is singing. There are no instruments. It’s someone in front of a mixer twisting knobs and jumping up and down. There is no speaking, no introduction on how a song was written because the song wasn’t written. It was produced.

Sam Feldt took his hands off his mixer to bow to the crowd — and the songs kept playing. He jumped, and clapped, and the songs kept coming. There was no tremor in his voice in a particular sensitive part of the song, no emotion in his tone. Essentially, he was a crowd fluffer — there to pump everyone up, not to share an experience.

Opening act Hotel Garuda kept his eyes closed his whole set. He bobbed his head, silent. If he left the stage no one would have noticed — they were too busy dancing. Unessential to the operation, he slipped off the stage silently. It was like he had never been there.

Sam Feldt did speak — three times, to thank the crowd for coming. He did a cover, a totally unrecognizable ravage of Florence and the Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love.” The vocals stretched, the tone changed. It was a rip-off, stealing the best bits of a song to change them and strip them. Just like playing music off a computer at home, the songs sounded like his SoundCloud because there was no one there to really perform them. Remixes of Lana Del Rey and Bastille were also big hits — but stripped of all of their value, all their emotion.

Even his originals sounded the same. There were predictable drops, there were high-pitched vocals. There were songs about love, and pills and fire. Everyone clapped at the end of the night, he thanked us. I felt empty. It was the longest concert of my life.

House music is just dance fodder. The fact that there is no pause between songs, no intimate moments of quiet. It’s just about having a good time, and because of that it isn’t really a concert. Sam Feldt didn’t need to be there for the music to happen — Syracuse students would have kept dancing.

Emera Riley is a junior magazine journalism major. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. You can email her at elril100@syr.edu.

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