Skriplo brought the ultimate dance party to The Garden

A beautifully edited montage encapsulating 2014 plays across three screens as seconds tick away on a timer for the new year. Swelling music accompanied flashing images of Burning Man 2014, Derek Jeter’s last game as a Yankee, USA’s soccer team scoring a winning goal, protestors in Ferguson, and other events that signified the year 2014. The timer ran out, every couple under the roof of Madison Square Garden kissed — and then Skrillex and Diplo showed up. The New Year got off to a high energy wub-wub start in New York City with a dual headlining set from EDM heavyweights Skrillex and Diplo this past Wednesday night, a change from the last three years where rock jam band Phish usually stood in for the dropping ball.

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The year leading up to Skrillex and Diplo’s double act was a productive one for both artists. Skrillex, real name Sonny John Moore  and who’s credited with introducing the mainstream to dub step, finally released his debut full-length album Recess after satiating fans with EP after EP for just under five years. As the founder of the record label Mad Decent, Diplo, real name Thomas Wesley Pentz, spent 2014 producing music with the likes of Madonna, Steve Aoki, and Faustix.

Diplo and Skrillex convened at this year’s Burning Man festival, following fellow DJ Troxler‘s refusal to play his set, a decision that lead to the forming of Jack Ü, releasing their debut single “Take U There,” featuring Kiesza back in September.

As big of a rep as the two DJs have on their own, they led a lofty lineup for Madison Square Garden’s New Year’s Bash. The night started off with a set from Dutch DJ trio Yellow Claw. The crowd was still beginning to pour into the venue at this point, but the faithful among the crowd gave Yellow Claw the energy they needed to get things started. A handful of hardcore fans in the pit flew flags with Claw’s logo on it and managed to fill the empty space in the crowd.

After Claw finished up, UK quartet Rudimental, high off of touring their debut album “Home,” brought a mix of DJing, live instrumentation, and poppy vocals to fantastic effect. It’s rare that electronic acts utilize live instrumentation in their sets, but it’s always a welcome decision.

The trap-laced hip-hop of A$AP Ferg followed. The first member of the A$AP Mob to make it on the bill at The Garden, Ferg played a lengthy set that included a death wall, crowd walking, and lots of bodies bobbing to the beat. Decked out in a classy tuxedo and jumping across the DJ booth performing “Shabba” with A$AP squad mates Twelvvy and Rocky was for sure a sight to see.

After Ferg finished, Diplo blew a hole through the roof with his set. The pit and the seats were close to full at this point, and the entirety of MSG was vibing to Diplo’s rhythms. The LA-based producer flipped through songs from his own catalogue, his collaborations, and songs from his other supergroup Major Lazer. He surprised everyone by bringing Waka Flocka Flame out early in the set to perform a few joints, followed shortly by Yellow Claw again.

As energetic a set as Diplo played, Skrillex managed to keep that energy level consistent with stellar visuals and nice mixing in between tracks of his own like “Bangarang” and “First Of The Year (Equinox)”. He even brought the A$AP Mob back out to perform Rocky’s “Wild For The Night.” Fans with signs littered the arena (my personal favorite said “Squirrel Wax?” and featured a squirrel with Skrillex’s trademark haircut) and gave the set a big energy boost.

Skrillex and Diplo ended the night with a performance from their supergroup Jack Ü, amidst New Year kissing and glowsticks being thrown in the air. It was a night full of dance and color that The Garden hasn’t seen in a while, and was a hell of a way to close out 2014. I’m hoping my eardrums heal by the end of January.

Dylan “CineMasai” Green was disappointed that “Coast Is Clear” feat. Chance The Rapper wasn’t played. 

*UPDATE*

Check out our exclusive interview with Rudimental from before the show:

 

Rudimental Members Kezi & Piers Reflect On Their Year & Talk Upcoming Album