Even though San Holo came to Columbus on Wednesday for his debut album tour, it was no rookie performance. On tour for his first solo album titled very simplistically, “album 1,” the Dutch electronic musician continued to blur the lines between electronic music and live instruments with his electric guitar that co-starred the show.
The concert that took place at the Bluestone primarily focused on his originals from “album 1,” though the crowd would be remiss if he didn’t play his most famed songs that made a name for himself in electronic music.
San Holo opened the show with “lift me from the ground,” arguably his most popular song from that has been topping the electronic charts since its release. “lift me from the ground” was a strong opening choice with its roots firmly based in catchy and repetitive electronic backdrops, a trancey wall of sound and simplistic lyrics that the crowd could easily sing along to.
San Holo quickly established his presence on the stage, giving fans hardly any time to stand idle. When he was not actively strumming on one of his three of his electric guitars, he was methodically tinkering with his mixing table to manipulate the drops and sound effects to keep the crowd engaged.
A packed house of younger millennials and college students actively engaged with San Holo’s performance by waving hands in the air and singing not only the lyrics, but also the bass drops phonetically back to San Holo. Colloquially referred to as “wooks,” audience members laden with neon bead bracelets, face jewels and traditional east Asian pashmina scarves danced euphorically to San Holo’s music, ecstatically cheering with every bass drop.
Though San Holo presented a fine performance as an electronic musician, he ensured to engage the audience with emotional moments as well. “love (wip)” presented a relaxing and comforting break from the heavy drops and bright strobe lights. “love (wip)” features Cassini, a French producer, and presents through a lyrical monologue a raw take on the meaning of love and authenticity.
With what he dubs as “post-EDM,” San Holo strives to incorporate his background as a guitarist and indie band member to establish himself as an unconventional electronic music producer and DJ, though it was not entirely evident in his live performance.
Aside from his three electric guitars, San Holo did not have any other live instruments or accompaniments in his performance. In many of his songs, the guitars hardly posed necessity aside from proving his originality as an EDM artist. Electronic artists such as Odesza, Griz and Big Gigantic have proven far more innovative in genre-blending in their performances than San Holo, who claims to take part in a “new wave” of EDM.
As with any good performer, San Holo gave the crowd what they wanted, which was an engaging and satisfying show that didn’t leave behind his most popular hits. Through the audience reactions, spectacular lighting and stage sparklers, it was evident that San Holo knew to drive home his most popular hits, “I Still See Your Face” and “Lights,” which he closed the show as the encore.
Relying entirely on his own stage presence as a DJ and guitarist, San Holo knew exactly how to work his crowd, making the concert both a sing-along and a dance club. All eyes are on San Holo with his success of “album 1” and speculation of which direction he will head in as a genre-blending electronic musician.