The thin line between electronic and the mainstream is now blurrier than ever. One need look no further than the meteoric rise of The Chainsmokers to see just how marketable EDM (a term that now induces cringes from longtime fans of the genre, myself included) has become. Even outside of pop-friendly sounds, formerly niche acts like Excision (whose Lost Lands festival has sold out in advance for both of the two years it has been around) have found mainstream success.
As evidenced by their show this past Saturday at Myth Live, Louis the Child has found their comfort zone straddling the line between electronic and pop.
The first time I saw Louis the Child was in May of 2015, as C-list support for Madeon and The M Machine in a venue that couldn’t hold more than 800 people. The crowd was barren and hardly anyone other than my friend and I danced. Fast forward almost 4 years later, and LTC’s crowds are thousands strong and look more like a Zara ad than a rave.
Wafia, vocalist on LTC’s “Better Not”, kicked off the night with warm, slow, and smooth vocals that were, unfortunately, drowned out by crowd voices due to a much-reduced sound level compared to that of the headliner.
Followed by Wafia was Nombe, a pop-rock artist that I can’t seem to describe as anything other than inoffensive. It’s not overwhelmingly bad, and he has an energetic enough stage presence, but the music and the delivery both seem manufactured and generic. My friend commented “This sounds like what would happen if you said ‘Alexa, play alt-rock.’”
After a mixed bag of openers that seemed out of place, LTC took to the stage with a lavish stage production featuring multiple LED walls and a centerpiece light-up crown. I was pleasantly surprised to hear them play a set comprised of mostly their own music, from breakout hit “It’s Strange”, newer more pop-centric tracks like “Love is Alive”, and fan-favorite throwbacks like the duo’s remix of Ty Dolla Sign’s “Blasé”. Some purists malign some DJ’s theatricality, but members Robby and Freddy aren’t listening. Both took ample opportunities to get on the mic and on top of, or in front of, the DJ booth.
LTC has a very clear, distinguished brand. They remain just electronic enough to appeal to the EDM crowd, and poppy enough to draw in mainstream success. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if this comfort zone is maintained.