4/26/15 – House of Blues

At just 20 years of age and without a single strand of facial hair, Madeon looks like your average teenage boy. But most 20 year olds haven’t collaborated with Ellie Goulding, Lady Gaga and Coldplay. Most 20 year olds don’t have over 93 million views on YouTube—and most haven’t performed on the main stages of some of the world’s biggest music festivals like Ultra and Coachella.

While his gentle features convey youth, his musical talents and abilities are beyond his years. The Frenchman is already a veteran figure at an age when he can’t even legally buy a beer in the U.S.

Perhaps the fact that he is the visual antithesis of the stereotypical electronic performer is why he has such devoted fans around the world, Boston included. It takes a lot to belt “Ma-de-on! Ma-de-on!” at the top of your lungs for 10 minutes straight, yet the crowd at House of Blues payed homage to their deity with a mixture of open arms and strained vocal chords.

Treating the audience to over an hour’s flow of music, the young musician gazed down into the teary-eyed, glitter-studded faces of his fans, prompting scream after scream and Snapchat after Snapchat. I’ve never seen so many Shazam apps open at once.

Madeon’s fingers danced across his Novation Launchpad, which in the darkness of the venue looked like the illuminated strip of an airport runway. Every now and then he would wave or conduct the audience in an orchestra of movements, telling them when to clap and jump in unison. He looked out of place on stage, but no one could dispute the fact that he deserved to be on that throne.

Playing many tracks off of his newly released album Adventure, Madeon was constantly busy behind his controls, adding effects on the fly and manipulating sounds in a dynamic and fresh manner. While most electronic musicians manipulate playback of pre-recorded material, Madeon creatively launched clips in real time, often putting a new spin on the songs. For example, the keyboard/rhodes intro in “Finale”—featuring Nicholas Petricca on main vocals with the Boston crowd on backing vocals—sent chills up the spine.

“Brace yourself, brace yourself…” the audience sang.

The dynamic set featured a variety of tracks ranging from the aggressive “Imperium” to the more laid-back and soothing “Home,” with Madeon himself on vocals. The eclectic set highlighted Madeon’s ability to create appealing compositions as well as dance floor anthems—a versatility that’s useful to stay afloat in the saturated EDM scene.

While his synth-pop sound may be tedious to some listeners, Madeon’s capacity to bring his unique compositions to life in a stunning live show complete with impromptu mixing and creative transitions has catapulted him into the upper echelons of the music industry. And that’s right where he belongs.

Twenty at the Top: Madeon
  • Unique mixing and transitions
  • Live instrumentation on keyboards
  • Lots of crowd interaction
  • No encore despite intense pleas
  • Short set
8.5Twenty at the Top

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