Diplo, a producer/DJ known for riling up the online community almost as much as he is for bringing elements of Caribbean genres to the mainstream, is not a person who’ll take a live show lightly. With light displays, fireworks, streamers and that really annoying paper that you’ll find in your pockets for months afterwards, the Major Lazer team really know how to put on a show.
Faced with an aesthetic that impressive, the music really needs to live up to its reputation – and it does. My friend once described Major Lazer as “dancehall for white people” and it could be argued that it’s true – a bastardisation of about eight genres per song, crowd favourites ‘Jah No Partial’ and ‘Watch Out For This’ got even the most uptight fourteen-year-old in a bindi going mad.
I’d go as far to say that half of the gift of the Major Lazer team is that they’re amazing hype men – how many acts can you think of that would willingly get a crowd the size of the Alexandra Palace capacity to “take off their motherfucking tops” before instigating eager participation in a crowd-wide crush? The dancers and graphics are also integral to the experience – as is Diplo’s ascension into a giant Zorb ball. I never knew that a DJ trying to trample me was such an essential addition to my life goals before Major Lazer.
For an act that is in some ways so counter-cultural, to hit the mainstream and ignite the passion of so many suburban teenagers (look, I’m not 21 yet, I still count) is no mean feat, and to watch the crowd be as excited for the oldest hits – ‘Original Don’ – and the likes of ‘Roll the Bass’ from the newest album is quite impressive.
Major Lazer are the architects of those songs dispassionate David Guetta fans hear in the club, are impressed by, and never look up. Even if you think you don’t know what they’ve produced, you will know at least one song, and that’s the beauty of what they make. The appeal of the project far outweighs Diplo’s ego, and in making something so chaotic and wide-reaching, Major Lazer have succeeded in bringing a thoroughly anarchic dance project to the masses.