The pop DJs give New York City the ride of its life.
Society's obsession with youth has nearly always been a prevalent thread line in popular music. Traces of it can be drawn as far back as Beach Boys' scorching, surfer-themed hits like "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Good Vibrations" and "California Girls." The quartet redefined the story forever, subsequently leading to varied other such attempts at capturing and holding onto naivety, exuberance and glowing optimism of the carefree 20-something. Waves of unruly, wholly unaware narcissism is forever etched onto the annals of music history, from Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" to Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" and Justin Bieber's comeback record, 2015's Purpose. 2016 witnessed a boost to the template with The Chainsmokers' undeniable smash, "Closer," with Halsey--in which the two acts trade off memories of their youth and falling in love. But there's another pair of pop programmers doing a much better job at nurturing youth's longing to gaze into the mirror and blaze their own trail, with no-fucks given, and framing that around real human feeling.
Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw, known together as Galantis, invited a few thousand of their closest fans for the party of the century. Taking to Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center Saturday night (April 8), the dynamic and dangerous duo proved (beyond a shadow of a doubt) why they should be respected as top pop craftsmen. Building their set upon a solid songbook, including their 2015 self-titled debut EP and last year's undervalued Pharmacy, Karlsson and Eklöw lit the space like a million tiny sparklers exploding all at once. The first four tracks from their latest album, "Forever Tonight," "Gold Dust," "In My Head" and their biggest hit to-date, "Runaway (U & I)" rose as the backbone to their performance, decorated with bright neon pink, blue and yellow hues, which could blind you or make your soul experience every inch of their musical charm. Then, the wild and fevered release of songs like "Peanut Butter Jelly," "Dancin' to the Sound of a Broken Heart," "Firebird" and their new single "Rich Boy" framed their depth as pop storytellers, zipping from sticky-sweet hooks to heartfelt, emotional readings.
The only glaringly obvious and definable thing about Galantis is their decidedly skewed demographic. Hammerstein Ballroom was packed with 21 year olds knocking down the booze stands, frenetically downing shots at the shot bar or scooping up Coke and rum, Coke and vodka, Coke and anything, really, whatever was necessary and urgent enough to intensify the thrill of the music. But that thrill is best left at the pedestal of Galantis' throne, so you can soak in every electric and hurried drop beat and know exactly that it means something. Galantis is about living in the moment but never letting go--and remembering that youth is just a state of mind.
Check out the rundown of all their upcoming shows on their official website.
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