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DMNW on the Road: We go to OKC to Ascend with Illenium, Adventure Club, and the ‘Sad Bois’

Photo: Stanley Sutton/ DMNW

Illenium’s Ascend Tour will make its way to the Pacific Northwest next month, but we couldn’t wait that long! Before their three-day stop at Red Rocks over the weekend, Illenium and his team of Sad Boi’s, and girls, performed last Wednesday at the most intimate venue on the tour’s itinerary: the Criterion Theater in Oklahoma City.

Starting in Texas, we made the three-hour drive north, to the heart of the United States, for a feels trip like none other. Pacific Northwest Illenials: The wait is worth it!

Let’s Talk About The Venue

Located in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown entertainment district, the Criterionthe Criterion is about the size of the Roseland Theater in Portland, or the Showbox SoDo, in Seattle. With Illenium taking his new tour to massive venues, to include stadiums, we were astonished that he was able to fit his biggest production into a much MUCH smaller setting.

(Photo: Stanley Sutton)

Despite the size of the venue, we never felt too overwhelmed. The event, an all-ages show, wasn’t a sell out so there was plenty of room to move. We were treated to amazing hospitality as P.L.U.R. was in the air on this Fall Oklahoma night. There were plenty of hugs, laughs, chants, and all-around kindness. Who knew Oklahoma had a rave scene, especially one like this?!

There was a small merch stand, featuring new Illenium jerseys made for the Ascend Tour- as well as merch from the guest of the night: Pacific Northwest frequent visitors, Adventure Club!

Let’s Talk About The Support Lineup

Each city on the tour has its own, unique lineup. In Oklahoma, three supporting acts were squeezed into a four-hour show. Each artist made the most of their limited time slots.

Rising melodic bass producer William Black kicked off the night with a mostly tranquil set, with a few headbang worthy tunes thrown in that had the crowd going wild! Dabin would keep the mood going, displaying his versatility by playing the guitar, and keyboard, during his set.

Adventure Club’s Leighton James brought out Said the Sky (Photo: Stanley Sutton/ DMNW)

Adventure Club’s Leighton James would take over, throwing down a pretty melodic set of his own- kind of surprising considering each time Adventure Club comes to the Northwest, they turn things up to 100. The crowd roared when Said the Sky was brought to the stage to perform a song with James. He also would play Adventure Club’s latest collaboration with Riot Ten!

Let’s Talk About Technical Difficulties

Illenium opened his set with an exciting new intro before transitioning into Blood– his heavy collaboration with Irish singer Foy Vance. Illenium has been opening his sets with Gold, so when we saw him do something different we were overjoyed!

Twenty minutes into his set, however, things hit a rough patch. The sound suddenly cut off, and Illenium, Said the Sky, and Day left the stage without saying a word as their mics, apparently, didn’t work. It took nearly 20 minutes before the problem was fixed. During the wait, a loud “happy birthday!” chant broke out, as well as chants referencing the nearby University of Oklahoma. For such a lengthy delay, where fans weren’t told what was going on, it was amazing to see the energy not leaving the building.

Illenium would come back on stage, apologize, and the show kept going. Some people actually left, during the delay, and we sure did feel bad for them! The lost time would be made up as the show kept going past it’s midnight curfew.

Let’s Talk About The Music

With an hour, and a half, set time, Illenium would play a plethora of tracks from his Ascend album- in addition to classics like his Halsey Without Me Remix and Fractures.

One of the biggest treats of the night was Anikka Wells. The voice of Crawl Out of Love would come out as a surprise guest to sing the aforementioned track, as well as Sad Songs, her latest collab with Illenium and Said the Sky. She would also perform an unreleased collab with Illenium, called Hard to Say Goodbye.

(Photo: Stanley Sutton/DMNW)

The set featured new edits, including a psy trance version of Say It. On occasion, Illenium would whip out a guitar, displaying his versatility as an artist. We were almost moved to tears when he played his guitar to All Together.

Throughout the set, Illenium’s sad boi bandmates had moments where they were allowed to shine on their own. Said the Sky played the drums, and keyboard. One moment featured a spotlight on him, alone, as he played an emotional keyboard melody.

Dabin would pop up throughout to play his guitar. We loved him as he shredded to Gold!

The night ended with an emotional take on Good Things Fall Apart– all bad members on the stage.

Verdict

Forget all the Illenium sets you’ve experienced to date. This one is like none you’ve seen!

Illenium introduces stunning new visuals for the Ascend tour (Photo: Stanley Sutton/DMNW)

New music, new visuals, tons of lasers, a strong supporting lineup, and surprise guests makes The Ascend Tour one you have to witness with your own two eyes. Illenium’s biggest production delivers on all aspects! While there are a few moments where you can bring out your inner headbanger, the focus of the show is on emotion and inspiration. If you’re going through a tough time, Illenium’s Ascend Tour might be the prescription you need!

You can catch the Ascend Tour in Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver toward the end of next month– heading into December. Tickets are flying, so don’t wait!

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