Recounting EPIC 2.0 Los Angeles: the pinnacle of Eric Prydz's marvelous vision [Event Review]
Two and a half years ago, Eric Prydz took over London’s O2 Academy Brixton for the inaugural EPIC, or ‘Eric Prydz in Concert.’ The storied London nights reverberated through the dance music community, paving the way for an all out hysteria at the announcement of EPIC 2.0, the North American edition. With an emphatic two night NYC run in the books, Eric Prydz returned to his new hometown of Los Angeles for the only West Coast installment of the groundbreaking tour. As expected, what went down this past Saturday at the Hollywood Palladium was something quite spectacular — a feast not only for the eyes and ears but for the mind and soul.
EPIC 2.0 was not just a showcase of Eric Prydz’s renowned mixing skills, but a demonstration of his otherworldly, all-encompassing vision. It was evident in all facets of the show, from the lighting, to the sound, to the stage arrangement. This was not just a concert, but a zealous attempt to push the boundaries of art and the live music experience.
Though the night started off in somewhat disarray with doors opening later than expected, once the show got going, it didn’t stop. More than just a Prydz show, EPIC 2.0 was a Pryda Friends showcase, with label stalwarts Jeremy Olander and Fehrplay warming up the crowd for a good two and a half hours. Over the course of the last year, Olander and Fehrplay have proven more than just complimentary additions to Pryda Friends, but the driving force behind the label. Both remarkable talents in their own respect, Jeremy and Jonas took turns showing off their enthralling productions as the crowd slowly filled the elegant ballroom of the Hollywood Palladium.
Jeremy Olander took the decks first, keeping the energy low with his intriguing taste in techno. As blue search lights glanced around the room, Fehrplay could be seen behind the decks as well, keenly observing Jeremy and the growing crowd. Proceeding with a technical ease through various techno and progressive offerings, Jeremy slowly raised the intensity with each successive track.
It wasn’t long before Fehrplay stepped into the mix, however, significantly picking up the energy with his remix of Prydz’s “Everyday” and a glorious new string-driven ID. “Balboa (Beta Mix),” Ferhplay and Jeremy Olander’s unreleased collaboration, was an exceptional addition to the set, as was Fehrplay’s recent cinematic track, “Indigo.”
Reintroducing himself into the flow, Jeremy Olander unleashed his stunning progressive house piece, “Petroleum.” As the Pryda Friends tour mates went back-to-back, the crowd’s energy was gaining an unstoppable momentum, catalyzed by the sound of Fehrplay’s “I Can’t Stop It” and Olander’s “Let Me Feel.” Suddenly, however, the music stopped, the stage darkened, and the crowd quieted. Hushed whispers and frantic movement abounded. We all knew it was time.
Jeremy Olander – Petroleum
The massive LED wall behind the stage, which until this time had remained blank, suddenly illuminated with a scrolling computer screen. Below the behemoth background, Eric Prydz emerged, keenly focused on the CDJs before him. Beeps and clicks emanated from the speakers, backed by low and dense subbass, as if we were on board a galactic starship in space. “EPIC 2.0 LOADED,” the screen read. In the next second, geometric holograms materialized, occupying the space in front of Prydz and encompassing him in their three dimensional axis. Twisting, burning, and shifting shapes, the brilliant hologram display was clearly an exposé of EPIC’s technological potential.
After two minutes of this, the screen turned black and the music began. A spiraling arpeggio danced from the speakers, fluctuating up and down and leading us along a curious journey. The unidentified track, which made its debut in the EPIC 2.0 teaser, was replaced by a relentless riser. Finally reaching its peak, Eric soon laid down his signature sample, “Welcome… to my house,” paving the way for a humongous house beat. While it was obvious we had yet to hear the full potential of the EPIC sound system, I could not have fathomed just how loud the system would truly be. As the beat descended upon the crowd, the sound was enormous — a full body experience, bolstered primarily by its engulfing bass. If it were not for my ear plugs, I would have almost felt the sound system to be too powerful.
For the next few minutes, my mind was in a state of awe. The beat thundered down across the walls, encapsulating us in its prodigious sound. The enormous LED wall blinked incessantly, enveloping the crowd in lights and lasers via its LED arm extensions. Eric wasted little time invigorating the crowd into a gyrating frenzy, soon introducing the driving force of “Rotonda. “The tail of “Rotonda” trailed through nearly the entire next track, until I suddenly realized it had faded away without a trace. Such is the beauty of Prydz’s mixing style; subtle elements from previous tracks blend flawlessly together with facets of new tracks to the point where the listener is lost in the mix: hypnotized by the seamless progression.
As usual, Eric’s patented mashup of “On Off” with Green Velvet and Harvard Bass’s “Laser Beams” garnered one of the most emphatic reactions of the night, but my personal favorite Cirez D selection was “Mokba.” After ramping up the intensity with his devious EPIC edit to “Power Drive,” the charging techno beat of “Mokba” served its purpose to keep the energy at a near-riotous level.
Cirez D – Mokba
There was something different about Prydz’s mannerisms behind the booth, however. Whether emboldened by his own music or the EPIC vision of the show, this was not the calm, collected Prydz of club nights and festival sets. Rather, Prydz was filtering, layering effects, and blending tracks like a machine. There was a manic focus to his movements: a desire to push his abilities and the “live” element of the show to new heights.
Towards the end of the night, the tail of one his many IDs trailed out into silence. Was this the end? The crowd looked on puzzled, yearning for something more. Seconds passed and soon the blissful chords of “Melo” rang out. The emotional impact was instantaneous as the beautiful progressive house piece inspired waves of elation. The rest of the night consisted of a tour de force of Eric’s hit collection: “Pjanoo,” to “Everday,” to his remix of “Midnight City” and “Allein” — it was just what the crowd wanted (though frankly, I would have preferred some more stunning IDs).
Perhaps the tone of the night was best embodied by two tracks: “Glow” and “You.” The former — a tribal Cirez D production — was representative of the stripped down, minimal appeal of the set. The latter, which came in the form of an interlude mix and a turquoise ocean backdrop, embodied the deeply emotional and entrancing aspects of the journey. Ultimately, it was the combination of both elements that made for the kind of transcendent experience that only Eric Prydz can offer.
Cirez D – Glow
Pryda – You (Interlude)
EPIC 2.0 marks a milestones for Prydz; it is the pinnacle of his glorious artistic vision: the intersection of his uncompromising sound and forward-thinking aesthetic. More than an isolated event, EPIC boasts a lasting appeal for Prydz fans. It is an event which rightfully deserves to be held only every couple years as to preserve its sacredness. The awe-inspiring production behind the event is truly one of a kind and some of the most technologically impressive we’ve seen to date. Yet at the end of the day, something tells us that the Swedish maestro still has bigger plans in mind. Only time will tell just how big the vision becomes — but if Saturday night was any evidence, Eric Prydz has got the tools to achieve anything he can imagine.