Everything you need to know about Porter Robinson’s new live show
Few artists have managed to completely reinvent themselves the way Porter Robinson has in the last year. It’s one thing to advocate for change and dismiss current trends, but to back those words up with truly innovative material is what sets an artist apart.
Porter executed his vision purely and honestly, and for that, he deserves respect. When Worlds finally hit the digital shelves, however, only one half of the story had been told. One month later, the concept has been fully realized as Porter tours the states with his new live show.
How would an album that conspicuously avoids EDM-tropes translate to a live environment of nearly all EDM enthusiasts? As it happens, surprisingly well. Here’s everything you need to know about Porter’s new live show:
It’s not a rave… but it’s pretty close
A couple weeks back, Porter took to Twitter to repeatedly clarify that his “shows are not raves.” While it certainly drew stronger parallels to live concerts than your average dance music show, I’d hesitate to completely absolve it from the EDM world. The sound system was enormous, the light show was dazzling, and it still had its fair share of ‘epic drops.’ With that said, the vibe was noticeably different, from an extended intermission to a heartfelt goodbye.
It’s filled with fans who actually care about his music
I think what Porter was getting at is the fact that the people attracted to these shows are not your typical ‘rave’ crew, but actual fans who know and care about his music. It was evident immediately, as the crowd began singing “Sad Machine” in joyous unison at the start of the night, only to enact the same behavior for nearly every song from thereon.
It’s much heavier than you’d expect
Comparatively speaking, Porter’s new material is much lighter and friendlier than his past work. I subsequently made the mistake of thinking his new show would be relatively low energy… I was wrong (and I’m glad for it). It appears Robinson hasn’t lost his penchant for formidable surprises, my favorite of which included a neuro-hop-like drop in the middle of “Fellow Feeling.”
It’s got tons of unreleased material
In writing Worlds, there’s no doubt that Porter wound up with more B-sides and VIPs than he knew what to do with. Luckily, plenty of them found their way into his set, providing plenty of unexpected turns amid the album’s beloved tracklist.
Not to mention some older favorites…
I won’t give too much away, but Porter did a great job of integrating older productions, from incorporating familiar vocal samples to full on re-imaginings of his most popular tunes.
It’s very much a visual experience
One of the coolest facets of the show is undoubtedly the visual storyline accompanying the progression of the music. With countless images hand-selected by Porter himself, the vibrant fantasy lands proved to be the perfect compliment to the fairytale-like nature of the album. From anime figures to Nintendo symbols to floating islands, the visuals provided an engrossing experience in their own right.
It’s a bit short, but ultimately very satisfying
Perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed to the virtues of DJ sets which more often than not allow for artists to play for multiple hours. It’s unrealistic to consistently expect that, but then again it’s a phenomenon that has become quite common for headlining shows. Porter’s set lasted about an hour and twenty minutes, which, to be fair, is pretty standard for the rest of the music world. You could tell the crowd was begging for more, however, which ultimately proved a testament to the quality of his performance.
At the end of the day, any qualms I may have are but minor blemishes in an otherwise enchanting spectacle. Hearing (and seeing) Worlds live delivers the context in which it needs to be fully appreciated. The combination of Porter’s piano work, vocals and subtle improvisation coupled with the fascinating backdrop of anime and fantasy universes was breathtaking to say the least. It was a wholesome experience quite unlike anything else in the dance music world at this time, and for that, Robinson deserves to be praised.