Andrew Taggert and Alex Pall arrived at the Flynn Recreation Complex late Friday night to a scene they have grown accustomed to seeing. Past the mixers, decks, amplifiers, and metal barricades was a mass of party-goers, donned in rave attire and armed with pulsating glowsticks handed out earlier in the evening, who cheered wildly as the duo took stage. Professionally, Taggert and Pall are better known as The Chainsmokers, and for the last four years have established themselves as one of the best-known EDM acts in the country.
Based out of New York City, the Chainsmokers began spinning decks in 2012, steadily gaining notoriety for remixes of local bands’ work. By late 2013, the Chainsmokers enjoyed commercial success and nationwide recognition in the EDM scene thanks to their surprise hit “#SELFIE.” Since then, the duo has toured across the globe alongside acts like The Prodigy, Alesso, and Diplo, and plans to release their debut LP sometime this year.
Like many of its live shows, the Chainsmokers kept the crowd energetic and entertained throughout with a mix of impressive showmanship and bass-heavy tracks. Die-hard fans were not left disappointed as the duo played a number of their crowd-pleasing hits, such as “Roses,” and “Let You Go.” Interwoven with their own discography was an eclectic array of hip-shaking songs, ranging from DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” to a deep house remix of “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King.
Helping make the duo’s theatrics possible were the students of the Campus Activities Board (CAB), who oversee and organize the annual winter show. Working with BCPD, EMS workers, and event staff, CAB transformed the Plex’s basketball courts into an impressively spacious concert hall for thousands of guests. While the party was raging just beyond the orange-clad security guards and crowd-containing barricades, CAB members expressed both pride and relief in their work.
“We’ve been coordinating this for some time” said Pat McCauley, MCAS ’17, while keeping abreast of the event backstage during a student’s opening DJ set. “All of this was done by students, so credit to everyone who can get an event this hectic running as smoothly as it does year to year.”
The atmosphere behind the barricades was starkly different from that of the frenzy of people in front of the stage—back there, an amalgam of CAB staffers, stage technicians, and security were too occupied with technical effects and transitioning between musical acts to dance like the students at arms length away.
Earlier in the month, CAB Plexapalooza tickets for the Chainsmokers sold out within two minutes of going up online for purchase—a record time that left a sizable portion of the student body outraged. Though a few of these tickets were rendered void after students attempted to re-sell tickets to the show at greatly inflated prices, this did little to dent the size of the crowd that flooded in. The event’s organizers were just as surprised.
“I expected the Chainsmokers to be a big draw, but we never imagined tickets selling out that quickly,” McCauley said. “It was ridiculous.”
The Chainsmokers show marks the fifth time an electronic music act headlined the annual student-run winter concert, and the second consecutive Plexapalooza with a major DJ act (the first was Dillon Francis in 2015).
Midway through their performance of “Kanye,” Taggert and Pall cut their music, after praising the enthusiasm of the BC crowd, to deliver a brief insight into the meaning behind the song.
“Just so y’all know, this song is not about Kanye West,” explained Taggert, “though he is an awesome guy. This song is about being yourself and not giving a s—t what people think about you. You guys [at BC] are smarter than most people, ourselves included, but the sooner you learn [to be yourself regardless of judgment], the better.”
For one night, as everyone danced like no one was around to watch, everyone was a little more like Kanye.
Featured Image By James Clarke / Heights Staff