Kicking off the night’s performances was Colombian-born electronic producer Ela Minus. She got the crowd amped up with a great selection of high-energy tracks from one of her recent releases, 2020’s acts of rebellion. Grimy bass runs combined with ethereal, twinkling synths, sparking the feeling of an exclusive DJ set in an underground club.
A pink wash backlit Minus as she twisted knobs and pressed pads on her impressive collection of electronic music gear. Two shelves of sequencers and synths were her workstation and dance partners as she got into the atmosphere of the music, moving playfully around drum sets and monitors.
The crowd wasn’t slacking during Ela’s set, either. People arrived well into her performance, and by the tail end of her set, a whole theater full of people was moving to dark, danceable beats. Ela was a formidable force on stage and only increased the anticipation for the headliner’s performance.
Next came the main event, Caribou. By then, the crowd was teeming with energy and pushing up against walls and dividers to catch a glimpse of the man himself, Dan Snaith, and his other band members. Before the set, Snaith helped the stage runners get equipment set up, which was a nice thing to see and contributed to a warm feeling as his show got started.
This tour was Caribou’s second shot at a promotion for their 2020 album, Suddenly. Obviously, global events put a wrench in Caribou’s tour for this album, so there was a great feeling in the air now that the tour was finally coming to fruition. Snaith cheerfully greeted the crowd as the band got into the swing of the music.
And was it swinging indeed. Fantastic light work washed the crowd with beautiful, solar colors as the band went into full gear on beloved songs. One of the highlights of the night was the band’s twelve-minute rendition of the track, “Sun” from Caribou’s 2010 album Swim. A white, blinding sun rose behind the band as Snaith dutifully belted the song’s title, distorting and amending the volume of his voice all throughout. He took a five-minute water break while the man on the synths played a dynamic interlude, both calmness and chaos flowing between vocals. Finally, the foundation of the track echoed through the noise once more… “Sun….sun…sun!”
Another crucial ingredient to the atmosphere was the wonderful light work behind the band during the whole set. Fractals and geometry in brilliant colors transformed constantly behind the band, mirroring the momentum of the drums and the synth. Beams of ethereal light shone through instruments and dancing limbs, giving an otherworldly appearance to the space.
At one point in between songs, Snaith took a moment to let the crowd know that it was Ela Minus’ birthday that night and wished her a happy day to much applause. All of the positive moments of the night only contributed to the high energy in the thick of the music. The crowd reflected this positivity, having lots of fun but respectfully refraining from shoving and getting excessively rowdy.
During Jamelia, Luke Lalonde took a break from bass backup to deliver his iconic vocal feature. He hit high notes with passion and grandeur. And I can’t forget to mention the drummer. It seemed there was no beat or time signature he couldn’t play; his constantly morphing drum performance was one of the defining ingredients in this impeccable concert experience.
As the night came to a close, people started to file out of the theater, but the positive energy stuck around. It was nice to see people of all ages just relaxing and enjoying themselves after a shared and wonderful experience. This event was a testament to Caribou’s philosophy as an artist: good vibes first. Some of the most popular songs from the artist are mantras of appreciation, self-confidence, and love, romantic or otherwise. Caribou’s emotional and introspective tracks made positivity stand out when he switched up the mood. My concert buddy, fellow Radio UTD member Hilwna, and I were feeling great and inspired the entire ride home.