The Turnt Up Tour gets loud

Review: The tour, featuring DJ Paper Diamond, hit Westcott Theater Friday night.

When Paper Diamond last played The Westcott Theater back in April, he blew the roof off the place.


His booming bass caused chunks of the 82-year-old theater’s ceiling to rain down on the unsuspecting crowd. The DJ loved every second of it.

“I love playing in Syracuse, especially The Westcott,” said Alex Botwin, the 27-year-old better known as Paper Diamond. “Every time I’ve been here it’s been insane.”

Photo: Alyssa Greenberg
Alex Botwin, the man behind Paper Diamond, kept the crowd dancing until nearly 2 a.m.

Friday night’s show didn’t cause any structural damage, but it was loud and energetic nonetheless. With blinding lights and penetrating electro bass, the three main acts pumped out four hours of thumping digital dance music.

The Turnt Up Tour marks Paper Diamond’s first as a headliner. Fellow Colorado native Michal Menert and the DJ tandem Sorry For Partying join him as opening acts.

“It’s a dream come true to get to tour with a bunch of my friends and go out and see a different city every night,” Botwin said.

A raucous teen-aged crowd packed into the single-room theater at The Westcott, donning glowstick headwear plastic sunglasses and neon spandex. A folding table holding a laptop and a series of cable and digital audio boards sat alone onstage.

Nick Guarino of Sorry For Partyign kicked off the evening with an apology:

"Sage couldn't make it tonight," he said in reference to Sage Berry, the other half of the DJ duo. "So looks like you've just got me."

Guarino infused thick bass into popular tunes like Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem." His originals, however, were anything but.

Guarino’s stage presence was solemn and subdued, traits unbecoming of a dance party DJ. He seemed more interested in his laptop than his audience and kept his eyes glued to it all night . This tour is the first for the DJ, whose nerves were likely amplified by the absence of his stage partner, Barry.

Michal Menert's set followed. Menert has toured with artists like Shpongle, Pretty Lights and RJD2, and his experience was evident. He carefuly managed the pace of his tracks, taking time to build melodies and gather momentum before hammering the crowd with monstrous bass lines.

"I'm happy to be here for Pretty Lights Music," he said, referring to the label he and Botwin share.

The night's main attraction, Paper Diamond, took the stage around 12:30 a.m., the young crowd showing no signs of fatigue. He packed his performance with original tracks seeped in sythesizer and the seductive pre-recorded vocals of an old girlfriend. Underneath it all was a crisp electronic bass.

Wearing round, black-framed glasses and black flat-brimmed hat, the bearded hipster looked more web hacker than musician as he clicked on his MacBook. Surrounded by LEDs, spiraling cables and an array of dials and switches, the production matched the technology doused sound of his futuristic music.

"It's only been three nights, but it's been wild so far," Botwin said regarding the tour. "We might do Turnt Up Tour again, but regardless, I'm going to be touring and bringing along my friends."

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