By Blake Nelson
Since the inception of House Music in America during the early 1980s, electronic dance music has grown, splintered and rebranded itself into mainstream culture. Last weekend on Saturday night, Reno celebrated modern EDM at the Reno Events Center with Pow Pow! 2016.
The concert, put on by Reno’s Fresh Bakin’, featured many big-name DJs from around the world including Meaux Green, Gent & Jawns and R3HAB. Most notably, the headliner was Flosstradamus — the DJ duo consisting of Josh Young, known by his stage name J2K, and Curt Cameruci, known as Autobot. The two have been rising in popularity in nightclubs and festivals around the world since 2005.
The majority of performers at Pow Pow! are on the record label Mad Decent, which was founded by acclaimed DJ Diplo in 2005. The label is known for its large collection of mostly EDM artists and the quality of material produced. The only acts that performed that aren’t on the label are R3HAB and Flux Pavilion.
Pow Pow! 2016 officially opened the doors at 7 p.m. to a line already gathered outside of the venue. After some music in the interim, the opener, Meaux Green, started his set to a relatively sparse but excited crowd.
Meaux Green opened the concert wonderfully with song after song of up-tempo house beats mixed with popular songs. As the songs moved through bass drops, a growing crowd was beginning to fill up the large area within the Events Center.
The sound quality was clear, distinct and loud. The bass was rattling the seating in the far back and could be felt in the concessions area outside of the concert area. An integrated light show was playing along to the sets, matching the tempo and adding another layer of spectacle for the concertgoers.
After Meaux Green finished his set, R3HAB took the booth to the crowd’s approval. R3HAB had flown in from Amsterdam the night before, marking him as a special guest at the event.
R3HAB didn’t show any signs of jet lag or fatigue. Immediately climbing onto the DJ table to greet the growing crowd of young adults, R3HAB hyped the crowd up even more than before. After climbing back down, R3HAB ran through his set, keeping the crowd cheering and engaged the whole time.
The crowd toward the end of R3HAB’s set was increasingly diverse. It consisted of students from the University of Nevada, Reno, all the way to people in their mid-30s. A large mass of people was packed in tight with rave dancers around the periphery.
In between an awkward transition from R3HAB’s loud set to Gent & Jawns’ set, the crowd settled noticeably. Although the huge screen on stage read Gent & Jawns, only Billy the Gent performed. It is unknown if this affected the set, but the crowd was less emphatic about the performance than the previous one.
Despite less cheering and excitement from the crowd, Gent still performed with gusto and some crowd engagement. The songs were less grand as well, with the drops being placed at odd intervals, also adding to the crowd’s growing disinterest.
It seemed that Joshua Steele, better known as Flux Pavilion, could sense the crowd’s unrest; he jumped in quickly after Gent’s set, and tried to hype the crowd. It took a moment for the crowd to come back from the minor, but about halfway through Flux Pavilion’s first song the crowd was cheering and bouncing to the beat with a new vigor.
Flux Pavilion exhibited his charisma by having an engaging stage presence and frenetic energy while mixing the various tracks. He weaved together samples with loud bass and the sporadic bursts of synthesizers, all while hyping the crowd through well-timed shouts aimed at increasing the enthusiasm.
This was all in preparation for the headliner — Flosstradamus. The Events Center was becoming increasingly packed toward the end of Flux Pavilion’s set, with more people wearing Flosstradamus merchandise arriving all the while.
When Flux Pavilion ended his set the Events Center was brimming. It was only seconds after the set ended when Flosstradamus took the stage to the crowd’s exuberant cheers.
J2K climbed onto the DJ table and brandished the duo’s emblematic flag, waving it back and forth while Autobot began the song. Blasts of confetti doused the crowd as the energy picked up.
The crowd danced all the way through the set with the most fervor of the night. Flosstradamus played to its strengths in DJing, giving the crowd what they wanted all the way throughout the set.
When the set ended, the mass of concertgoers crowded out the exits, seemingly satisfied by the entire show.
The concert was another success in the string of concerts that are put on by Fresh Bakin’ throughout the year. This one satisfied the large and varied crowd throughout the four-hour running time, proving that Fresh Bakin’ knows how to pack a bill to please a crowd.
Blake Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweeted @b_e_nelson.