Yes I have, you say? Oh, okay then.
If DJ Mag Top 100 ratings mean anything (it doesn’t), Dada Life were my #1. Seeing them play at sunrise at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas this year was one of my life-defining moments, and on September 20, 2012, they made their 3rd annual stop at London Music Hall, here in downtown London, Ontario.
On 2011′s visit, I was still just getting my toes wet in the EDM scene and culture. I followed the major artists and had heard a few names. I liked Dada Life, but I didn’t truly appreciate them. I never did buy tickets, however after much work on Twitter, I managed to win a pair. I couldn’t find anyone to go with, so that night I went by myself, exhausted, after work. Between having no one to party with and pure desire to crawl into bed and pass out, I ended up leaving before Dada Life even hit the stage.
It was but weeks later that I really started to discover their music. Every new song they released became my new favourite song – and the regret I experienced over missing their London show when I was oh so close to seeing them began to grow.
At EDC, their Monday 4am set was something I refused to miss. In fact, if I had to rate shows I wasn’t missing for anything that weekend, they had the top slot again. I was not disappointed. There is something special about being surrounded by neon lights, costumes, and 100,000 other overly-enthusiastic fans that share the same passion for the music as you do. It’s complete sensory-overload and bliss.
Despite having seen them only 3 months ago at EDC, I definitely didn’t lack any excitement when their fall Dada Land tour was announced – and London Music Hall was stop #3. I’m fairly certain I was literally the first person to buy my ticket.
The show sold out before the doors opened. I arrived to a line consisting of dozens of banana and neon clad fans, preparing themselves for a night of beats and bass.
The show was incredible, and something completely different than I experienced at EDC. Dada Life played for 2 hours. The bass was fatter than a sausage. Their set seems to contain every song off their new album (The Rules of Dada), and they even surprised us with a short hardstyle set in the middle – most of which I unfortunately missed, because we’d just stepped outside for relief from the extreme lingering heat that comes with every show at London Music Hall.
By the end of the first hour, my entire body was already fatigued from jumping about like a maniac. I knew that despite this – and the fact that I had to work in 7 short hours – there was no way I could allow myself to leave early. Even when my legs felt as though they were about to give out.
And am I ever glad I didn’t. I’m usually the type to hover around the back of the crowd. I like room to dance. I have no desire to squeeze my way to the front and have to fight to stand in one place, getting soaked in other people’s sweat and spilled beer. As the crowd started to thin – exhausted by opening acts 12th Planet and Caveat, I was able to make my way towards the front of the crowd without much struggle. At one point, after a brief absence, Stefan appeared atop the DJ booth clothed in Superman attire including a billowing cape; we all jumped and screamed as we awaiting the drop, at which point Stefan launched himself into the crowd. I was a little too far back to get close to him, but it certainly did something to increase the intensity of the crowd, and things only got crazier.
As the show continued, we were subject to Dada Life’s amazing visual show, including obscure, cartoonish animations that were certainly designed by someone who’s a little more “creative” than the rest of us.
If you are unfamiliar with Dada Life, they have a seemingly confusing combination of products, by which all fans recognize them. Champagne and bananas. In interviews, Dada has mentioned that they initially included bananas on their rider as a source of potassium, and eventually came known for them. Champagne was included on the rider as their alcoholic beverage of choice. It wasn’t long before they discovered how disgusting bananas and champagne paired together. A combination so terrible would of course lead any normal person to make the pair their symbol.
Over time, bananas have come a emblem for many fans, and every show contains dozens of people dressed in full-body banana costumes. It has also lead to many people sneaking bananas into shows, and by the end of the set the floor is transformed into an obstacle course of banana peels.
And yes, in case you were wondering; I DID watch a guy remove a bunch of 6 bananas from his boxers on the way up the stairs into the music hall.
At every show, Dada Life invites anyone dressed as a banana onto the stage for the last few songs. At London Music Hall, there was barely room for all of the bananas on stage. The place was packed.
At the end of the show we were treated by an amazing surprise when Ollie jumped into the crowd and directed that he be crowd-surfed to the back door. Set up here was a merchandise booth by which every person passed in order to leave the venue. As everyone exited, Ollie personally sold merchandise, shook hands, signed autographs, and took about 30,000 pats on the back. As the venue cleared out (I stayed until the very end), he stopped to chat with fans as he made his way back to the dressing room.
Examples like this are why I love Dada Life. Not only do they put on incredible shows and produce the music that made me fall in love with them – they seem like incredibly genuine, nice, fun guys. Moreso as of late, personality has become a huge factor for me, and other artists have lost my respect based on their interviews and attitude towards the scene. I’m not naming any names, but I’m sure you could make some pretty accurate guesses. An artist who gives back to their fans rather than hiding out in their dressing room demanding someone bring them Evian and Dom Perignon is a person who’s musical talent I want to support.
We left our brains at home; we arrived pretty, we Fed the Dada, We Kicked out the Epic Mother Fucker, and we left ugly. We experienced art as loud as fuck, and we weren’t afraid to get wet. And we definitely didn’t make any of those lame hand-hearts while we did it.