Mother Nature brought the ice to New York on an unexpectedly snowy Saturday in October, but with an energetic, wide-ranging three hour set, Kaskade definitely brought the fire.
Kaskade’s two Halloween weekend shows at Roseland Ballroom, cleverly dubbed “Trick or Beats,” marked the first shows since the release of his album Fire & Ice. Expectations for his set ran high, given the new material from the album and its sonic diversity. In short, the show succeeded on every level: Fire & Ice tracks easily found a place among Kaskade’s Music Monday bootlegs and other popular tracks; “delicious” lasers and breathtaking visuals created an over-the-top spectacle; and the crowd loved every minute.
During this summer’s Identity Festival, Kaskade spun alongside a diverse group of artists (Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Chuckie and Nero, to name a few) and the effect on his live sets was obvious Saturday night. He strayed often from his tried-and-true vocal house formula into dirtier electro territory, but tracks like Porter Robinson’s “Unison” felt at home mixed in with “Calling,” “Dangerous,” and other Kaskade go-tos. He added half of his Fire & Ice tracks into the mix, too. “Eyes” and “Turn It Down” are staples by now, but “Lick It” and “Lessons in Love” were warmly received by the crowd. “Room for Happiness,” with Skylar Grey’s gorgeous vocals, was a perfect final song. Kaskade’s heavy touring schedule has also given him a keener sense of what the crowd wants, with better song selection and impeccable timing; he perfectly manipulated each song’s drop and breakdowns for maximum impact. In three hours, there was never a dull moment.
Identity also seems to have taught Kaskade a thing or two about production value; he designed his own set for the arena tour and brought the same grand aesthetic to Roseland Ballroom. In the middle of the room, sexy/scary acrobats (with their faces painted like skeletons) swung and slithered on a huge neon orb, while similarly-dressed dancers took to elevated platforms on the dance floor. Even more impressive were Kaskade’s special effects, with candy-colored lasers blanketing the room and cold fog washing over the crowd during the biggest drops. Animated visuals, much like those from his Identity sets, played on three screens to stunning effect. And, true to Kaskade form, huge balloons and confetti rained down on the crowd, with Kaskade himself playfully hitting a balloon or two when they came his way.
Given the overall insanity of Kaskade’s Roseland set, it was difficult to choose a few favorites. But our “need to know” tracks are just that – the few songs your music library shouldn’t go without.
1. Oasis vs. Eric Prydz – Wonderwall 2night (Ken Loi Bootleg)
It’s natural to assume that “Wonderwall” would be out of place at an EDM show; it would also be wrong. The crowd went nuts for Ken Loi’s combination of the Oasis sing-a-long classic and Eric Prydz’s prog-house banger, shouting the lyrics and generally rocking out. (And if you need any more convincing that this is a track worthy of top honors, check out Tiesto’s epic Home Depot Stadium set.)
2. Kaskade vs. Nicky Romero & Tommy Trash – Empty Streets Solar End (Kaskade Bootleg)
Kaskade’s Music Monday releases usually combine his older acapellas with fresher house beats, and this one manages to mash three songs together seamlessly. “Solar” and “The End” sound great together, and the sexy “Empty Streets” vocals don’t hurt either.
3. Kaskade vs. Deniz Koyu – Hertz vs. It’s You, It’s Me (Del Pello Bootleg)
Deniz Koyu can do no wrong in our book, and he and Kaskade have both been playing this stellar bootleg in live shows. “Hertz” is great on its own, but it’s perfectly complimented by the upbeat sounds of Kaskade’s classic vocals.
4. TV Rock & Hook N Sling feat. Rudy – Diamonds In The Sky
Okay, so this isn’t the newest track out there, but it deserves more attention than it got upon its release. This is the kind of song that fits perfectly with Kaskade’s own productions: a warm synth line, big-room feel, and lovelorn vocals.
5. Kaskade feat. Neon Trees – Lessons in Love
Banger. Enough said. This track is going to be huge, with a radio-ready chorus that has a major Maroon 5 vibe and endless energy throughout.
6. Kaskade vs. Laidback Luke – All That Disaster (Kaskade Bootleg)
Laidback Luke’s piano-driven beat was a major crowd-pleaser and, like all of Kaskade’s other bootlegs, an unexpected vocal goes a long way. “All That You Give” has a bridge that everyone sang along with, even if they didn’t know what song it came from. (Give the track a listen and you’ll see what we mean.)
7. Kaskade feat. Rebecca & Fiona – Turn It Down (Deniz Koyu Remix)
As we said, Koyu can do no wrong. We can’t wait for this remix to be released.
Kaskade has had a big year, but this show – and the inventiveness of Fire & Ice – portends only bigger and better things in 2012. He may have won a gold mixer as America’s #1 DJ, but we see a gold (or maybe even platinum?) record in his future too.
Photos by Jacob Schulman