Cindy Hernandez/Staff Writer
On February 12, The Fillmore Miami Beach was host to a fairly paradoxical concert by French House producer Madeon, with support from Skylar Spence. Despite my skepticism of the pairing, I was introduced to what I can only define as the future of emerging tastes in electronic music, and what that means for Miami concert goers, especially.
For starters, I was more familiar with Skylar Spence,formerly known as Saint Pepsi. Before embarking on his electro-pop lyrical based 2015 album Prom King, Skylar Spence was among the first few musicians online and one of the most prominent to take on and be attached to labels such as “future funk” and “vaporwave,” genres that begun on the Internet that are implicitly influenced and balance on a fine line between admiration and ironic appropriation of 70s funk, elevator music, and early Japanese city pop. The kind of atmosphere you experience online from the communities involved in making this kind of music can best be described as hostile and pretentious, juxtaposed very harshly against the happiness of the music itself.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the pairing of both artists on one bill to highlight what makes me love going to concerts and watch artists both collaborate and inspire each other in the first place.
For starters, Skylar Spence’s set was wonderful, playing tracks straight from his 2015 debut album and incorporating different instruments: guitars and synths at once. It was a complete opener, and the crowd was especially responsive to songs like “Can’t You See,” “I Can’t Be Your Superman,” and the finishing song for his set “Fiona Coyne.” What makes Skylar Spence such a great performer is his willingness to work around the genre he was originally comfortable with and develop some of the most interesting pop from last year.
The main headliner, Madeon, pushed me out of my comfort zone in a way that was fun, exciting and made me think differently about what it means to pair himself with an opener like Skylar Spence. For one thing, French House is characterized by the same samples used in vaporwave like filtered funk and disco, but the difference was outstanding.
When the light setup emerged, featuring a visual narrative that never stopped of cubes, pipes and never ending sunsets.I was drawn to his performance style: a bit dramatic, but always fun. It was also really obvious Madeon loved the audience he performed to; they stem from the same vein of Ultra Music Festival goers.
Indeed, that’s how it felt inside of The Fillmore that night. Madeon’s set included all of the songs off his 2015 release “Adventure,” mixing electro house with the sounds of video game chiptune music, making the concert feel like I’m being ushered into the world of some Japanese MMORPG. Songs like “You’re On,” “Pay No Mind,” “Innocence,” and “Pixel Empire” were big hits with the crowd, seemingly because of the strong features on Madeon’s debut like Passion Pit or Kyan.
Overall, what occurred was an eclectic set of music that defied tastes. It was clear who people were waiting for: an older crowd towards Skylar Spence and reminiscing of 2011 when vaporwave had just emerged and younger kids in Porter Robinson shirts who couldn’t wait to see their friendly young emerging electronic artist Madeon guide them on some spiritual journey of both epic, danceable proportions and for bringing together two crowds that would have never met in the first place.