Plot Twist: Went to Canada for Armin van Buuren, Left a Marshmello Fan

Who Is Your Marshmello?

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of Dance Music Northwest or its leadership.

Have you listened to an artist at home, and thought, “eh, they’re ok.” Then you see them perform live, in person, and they just blow you away? Your jaw drops to the floor for an hour and some change? For me, Marshmello is that artist. I used to not give much of a shit about ‘mello. His music–aside from a track or two–just wasn’t for me. Then I saw him at Contact Winter Music Festival 2017

Marshmello Closing Day 1 of the Festival (Photo: Brendan Leong)

I was excited by the names featured in Contact’s lineup: Adventure Club, Tchami, Destructo, my favorite musician Armin van Buuren, and so much more! When I saw Marshmello was headlining night one, my reaction was a simple “ehhh…” Fast forward to the festival, I told myself to keep an open mind as Marshmello prepared to perform. My friends, who have seen him live, told me he was “amazing” and that I’d like his set. But, my friends are historically hit or miss with their recommendations. On this occasion, I hoped they were right. I was riding a musical high from the sets leading up to the “main event,” and I didn’t want to come down.

“Everybody know me. Everybody know me. Everybody know me. Everybody know: Marshmello”. The beat picks up. The first drop comes. “Ok,” I say to myself. It wouldn’t take long for him to transition to original Marshmello music. The crowd was feeding off his set, but I just couldn’t get into it. That was until he played Alone midway through his set.

Photo: Brendan Leong

During the song, I texted a friend, saying: “I gave him a try. His cookie cutter EDM isn’t for me.” After Alone though, things took a quick 180-degree turn. He started to play bass and trap music, and didn’t stop — I was stunned! Feeding off the crowd energy and the music, I couldn’t help but join the head-banging circle closest to me; just going ham with complete strangers. He played 4B’s Pop Dat, and turned it into Trampa’s Rocket Fuel. I lost my shit! At one point, he played Prison Riot, prompting me to ask the stranger next to me: “what is happening?!” Never did I expect Marshmello, who is as commercial, pop-EDM as they come, to get this filthy.

He ended his set with Silence, a song I actually like. After giving thanks to the capacity crowd, chants of “one more song! One more song!” filled the B.C. Place stadium. I couldn’t help but join in the chant. Alas, partying with the Mello gang will have to come at another time.

Marshmello Had the Crowd In The Palm of His Hand (Photo: Brandon Artis Photography)

Upon returning home, I looked up various Marshmello sets on SoundCloud. Lo and behold, almost all of them are virtually identical. Normally, that’s no fun; an artist playing the same set over and over. Yet I find myself listening to them, specifically his EDC Orlando 2017 set, fast forwarding to the moments where he does that 180- flashbacks of his Contact performance running through my mind. I’ve been to many shows; not too many artists have that kind of impact on me. Say what you will about ‘Mello, but he’s not so bad live!

Till Next Time…. (Photo: Brandon Artis Photography)

What artist(s) has pleasantly surprised you at a show, or festival? Do you have a “Marshmello” of your own? Share your story in the comments below!