Marshmello fans are some of the most passionate fans in electronic music today, but that didn't make them easy to be around Thursday at The Republic.
#Mellogang poured into The Republic on Thursday in full force to see Marshmello. Tickets sold out and were reselling for upwards of $120, so The Republic was packed wall-to-wall. Marshmello must be doing something right if so many people are excited to see him, but I quickly learned the loyalty and scope of his fan base that night as they so easily tested the capacity of The Republic.
There was a sea of Marshmello merchandise, and of course Marshmello costumes and helmets. Fans sang the words to his most popular single "Alone" before he even took the stage. In the past, Marshmello has opened up with a mashup of "Know Me," which features the melodic drop from "Find Me." Although it comes so early in the set, the moment has been one of my favorite parts when I've seen him in the past, and it's a great way to kick off his high-energy performances. However, only minutes before Marshmello came out from backstage, a sound technician accidentally dropped "Find Me." Although most people at The Republic were not moved by the mishap, it was a careless mistake that set a sour tone for the opening of the performance. It also pulled back the curtain a bit. If a sound tech can hit a button to drop his opening song, it makes you wonder how much of the performance was in his hands and not 'mello's. When Marshmello opened with his "Know Me/ Find Me" mashup, the surprise was spoiled.
A couple of days before his performance in New Orleans, Marshmello joked: "If you don't leave my show with a few new friends five baby marshmellos will be sacrificed...so make friends." He promotes a message that radiates positivity, but unfortunately, #Mellogang aren't as sweet and fluffy as the man on stage. Not minutes in to his set, Marshmello fans began to mosh and constantly shove one another in the crowd. Trap and dubstep have created a culture in which love for the music is expressed through unbridled aggression, but in one of the smaller concert venues in New Orleans--sold out--that aggression ruined the experience for many. There was barely room to squeeze through the crowd to get to the restroom, let alone maintain personal space, so the moshing translated to people head-butted in the face, elbowed in the chest, and soaked with spilt booze.
Marshmello made smooth transitions and the energy of his set increased as the night went on. He performed popular remixes from this year like "Where Are U Now" and "Need U (100%)." The crowd belched the lyrics to "Keep It Mello" and head-banged when he mixed dubstep into his set with tracks like "Purple Lamborghini" by Skrillex and Rick Ross. Later in the set, he played his brand new remix of Justin Bieber and DJ Snake's radio hit "Let Me Love You." There was something in this performance that anyone could enjoy, and his artistic ability was evident. His fans and his ticket sales speak for themselves in this case.
The struggle of actually being at the show, and sharing the tight and overcrowded space with #Mellogang raised the question: Is all of this hype worth it? Marshmello has brought a different sound to the mainstream, but it isn't revolutionary. Despite the freshness of his total package, his sound is similar to that of producer Sound Remedy who mixed the same synthetic elements of synth and high-octave melodies. Marshmello has found the balance between mainstream and underground, as well as originality and restatement. It would be easier to enjoy in person if his fans struck a better balance between their own pleasure and that of people inches (at most) away.