Diplo @ Festival Hall, Melbourne, Saturday March 18, 2017.
Diplo came to Melbourne and conquered, leaving faces melted onto the floor of a very sweaty Festival Hall.
Anna Lunoe and Nina Las Vegas kicked off the night with a B2B set that most acts given a 7:30 timeslot can only dream of. The veteran DJs brought local girls to the front with a hip hop-focused set that built gradually; this was the most professional and experienced opener you could hope to see.
Texas rapper Post Malone appeared after an underwhelming plug from his hype man, but no sweat – Posty made amends quickly. His set was short and concise, the 21-year-old spitting as fluently as any of the 2016 freshman class rappers. Too Young and Big Lie highlighted his talent live while Déjà Vu – last year’s monster hit featuring Justin Bieber – collected the biggest cheers.
The next 90 minutes could only be described as beautiful carnage. You know when you get dunked by a wave, and as you’re gasping for air another wave comes along and dunks you again – and again? That is how I’d describe Diplo’s merciless headlining set; a brutal, unrelenting battering ram of trap-heavy drop after trap-heavy drop.
The King of Snapchat made good on his promise to turn Festival Hall into the biggest club in Australia. Rarely was a drop repeated, there were no conventional builds, and still he held 100% of the room’s attention throughout – particularly when he stood atop his decks waving a huge Australian flag (*wipes patriotic tear from eye*).
The Florida native is known for overindulgence – if you’ve ever been to a Major Lazer show you will know that the stage set-up can be chaotic, to say the least – but Saturday night illuminated the 38-year-old in his rawest form, a lone figure and his decks. It was hard to imagine how he might maintain these uncompromising swells of intensity all set, but miraculously, Diplo delivered with authority.
Along with his own beats, he dropped cuts from both Major Lazer and Jack Ü (his collaboration with Skrillex), along with Flume, RÜFÜS and Kanye. He presented an eclectic mix of pop culture, never reliant on nostalgia; all choices were present and relevant. This evening was a credit to one of music’s most significant figures, two decades into his career and gunning for several more.