Krewella struggles against indifferent crowd, bad acoustics

Review: EDM group Krewella performed at the F Shed on Tuesday, fighting against the venue's bad acoustics and playing mostly hits to a crowd of casual fans.

Krewella raved to a sold-out crowd at the F Shed on Tuesday despite having a different crowd than normal for an EDM show.

The group performed a DJ set, giving the girls time to rest their vocal cords after an incredible performance in Toronto on Saturday at The Guvernment. (Full disclosure, I was at the Toronto show, too.) It’s unusual for an EDM act to sing live; in fact, Krewella is perhaps the only big act to do so, making their non-vocal sets nothing out of the ordinary for electronic shows. While I would recommend seeing them sing live, hearing Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf DJ all night with Rain Man was still a great experience.

Photo: Ilana Dunn
Fans pack into the F Shed to watch Krewella's performance in Syracuse on Tuesday night.

Opening acts Candyland and Seven Lions brought some concertgoers out early, but many hung around outside the venue until Krewella came on at 10:15 p.m. The group opened with its hit song, “Alive,” before transitioning into an hour and a half of hardstyle and dubstep interspersed with top 40 songs.

The crowd reacted best to Krewella’s radio singles as well as the top 40 tracks, with a noticeable drop off in energy as the group played remixes of songs off their new album, Get Wet, as well as pure instrumental tracks.

The decrease in energy was somewhat upsetting to witness, especially after seeing the crowd’s reaction when the group first took the stage; the fans were screaming so loud for the first song that it took me a minute to recognize what was being played.  

While the group read the energy of the room well, spacing out their singles, and even dropping “Alive” repeatedly to pump up the crowd and get them moving again, it made for a less exciting performance for those passionate Krewella fans. Hearing a song more than once in a night is typically something that only occurs at nightclubs, where the DJ is responsible for making money for the venue. So to hear the familiar beat of Krewella’s first major single more than once was disappointing, especially after seeing them in Toronto where they didn’t even hint at dropping a track multiple times. But as the night progressed, it became more and more evident that they were forced to react to their crowd and adjust in order to give the “fans” what they wanted: radio-proven show stoppers.

At one point during the show, the metal walls of the F Shed were shaking so hard it drowned out some of the music toward the back of the venue, furthering my disappointment. With the metal walls and concrete floor, the heavy bass Krewella is known for could only bounce around the venue until it dissipated. Luckily, the sound became less distorted closer to the stage.

The F Shed is a relatively new venue and was never designed to host concerts, something that I tried to take into account. The acoustics of the room are terrible for music despite the decent sound system brought in for the night, the venue’s one saving grace. However, I found myself wondering how distorted a rock band would sound in the venue when a group of talented DJs couldn’t keep their easier-to-control sound from becoming distorted.

As the final notes of the group’s song “Come & Get It” rang through the F Shed, Krewella left the turntable to chants of “Krew-el-la” and “One more song!” The final three songs that led to the chant had inspired the crowd to once again scream and dance as hard as they had for the opening number, but by that point quite a few people had already left.

Not wanting to leave their fans hanging, Krewella came back out as the opening chords of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes blasted through the speakers. The group then dropped “Alive” again to an explosive crowd who sang along to every word and danced harder than they had all night.

Overall, Krewella put on a good performance, especially given the environment's shaky acoustics. It takes a talented DJ to adjust a set on the fly based on the room’s atmosphere, and for three DJs to do that simultaneously shows how skilled the group is as a whole.

The downfall of last night’s show was the venue and the crowd. A concert is more enjoyable when you know the music, and EDM is such an expansive genre that casual listeners don’t stand a chance of recognizing most tracks at a show. It’s safe to say that Syracuse isn't the ideal city to experience an EDM show. 

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