Certain scenarios speak for themselves: the groups of kids bunched near the railing rocking Pryda t-shirts, the waft of sweat permeating the air before the main act had even tied his shoelaces and the waves of chanting befitting a Premier League match that ping-ponged around the cavernous Brixton Academy. There was no denying it: London clubgoers were frothing at the mouth for the world premiere of Eric Prydz's EPIC show.
It's no surprise, really. The aerophobic Swede may not have zig-zagged the planet playing countless clubs and festivals, but his productions under the Cirez D and Pryda monikers have filled the CD wallets of progressive, techno, house and trance DJs for some time now. And his 2004 breakthrough hit "Call on Me" garnered the softly spoken Prydz the kind of chart success more befitting of ABBA than an up-and-coming DJ only three years into his production career.
Following in the footsteps of other audiovisual spectaculars from Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Etienne De Crecy and Plastikman, the Swede offered up an ambitious version of his own called EPIC. Unleashed after an 18-month incubation period, the show paired holograms featuring 3D animation with images projected on 30 m wide panels that stretched the entire length of the stage and out into the crowd.
Photo credit: Ryan Dinham
Prydz's blog reported the team had been at the venue since 2 AM that morning setting up. The hard work was vindicated early on, too, as Prydz matched the stadium feel of Brixton Academy, with a laser-kissed opening hour that wouldn't have been out of place at Trance Energy as melody-soaked cuts "Illusions" and Glimma filled the room.
Prydz knows how to tease a dance floor as well, dropping the hooky key pattern of "Pjanoo" at the tail end of the unreleased "Berns Electro I.D," inciting ecstatic groans from the crowd as the projections switched from blue-green swirls of colour to synapse-searing white light.
Every set has a peak and when Prydz dropped the ripping synth workout "Animal," shortly followed by his own re-rub of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" before bringing the bone-crushing bassline of "Knockout" into the mix, EPIC appeared to have reached its apex. The finale? The suitably epic layering of "Pjanoo" over recent Pryda release "Viro." Then in a move more befitting a rockstar, he disappeared side stage before re-appearing for the dizzying finale "Shadows" as 4,000 pairs of arms appeared to punch the air in unison. Epic to say the least.