Concert Reviews

Axwell at the Ogden Theatre, 4/19/12


Who needs the dry, sun blasted heat of the Coachella valley to have a good time? Not Axwell, the headphone-turned-goggle sporting Swede who happens to make up one third of Swedish House Mafia, one of the headlining acts at this weekend's Coachella Festival. Last night, just as the anthemic undertones of "Save The World" could be heard through the hanging speaker stacks, Axwell's beat dropped in conjunction with an explosion of confetti and strobes, giving everyone the feeling that we, too, were in the vicinity of 25,000 other people all begging the same question as the song and staring directly at the answer.

Axel Hedfors, better known to the dance community as Axwell, took a break from raging the Coachella valley to come give Denver people a chance to get down for a night. Though it certainly was not a Swedish House Mafia set, Axwell did his best to juggle between personally produced tracks and those written and performed by Swedish House Mafia that have the power to send 100,000 people into a total frenzy. If last night was just the tease, the real thing must be awe inspiring.

For the most part, Axwell's set ran pretty flawlessly with him jumping between what looked like four Pioneer CDJ-2000 turn tables with one mixer and one set of headphones that, more often than not, doubled as a visor/goggle to cover his eyes while mixing. In typical fashion, we were brought up to the brink of climax right before Axwell would delve into another house banger from the SHM catalogue.

Betwixt precise transitions, Axwell would tweak and turn control knobs on his mixer, then check the samples and distortions, all culminating to a clean finish. Though production quality is a crucial component, it was clear that the music would be dwarfing the visuals provided on a stage spanning LED panel.

When the sexiest lips ever digitized danced around the screen during the opening notes of "Nothing But Love," it became obvious that Axwell loves to party, whether it's for a crowd of one thousand or fifty thousand. And while the set did close with "Save the World" and a seemingly unending confetti shower, the favorable response he received from the crowd was more a reflection the talents of one of most recognized producers out there, rather than to some cheap party tricks meant to garner applause.

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Britt Chester is a writer and video producer living in Denver, Colorado. He's covered breaking news, music, arts and cannabis for Westword since 2010. His work has appeared in GQ Magazine, Village Voice, YES! Weekly, Inman News and the Winston-Salem Journal. He likes running, cycling, and interviewing people.
Contact: Britt Chester

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