WRITTEN BY: Christina Hoffman
PHOTOS BY: Maggie Luong
On Wednesday, October 2nd, fans were prepared to be transcended by Illenium’s Ascend tour, shaking the Franklin Music Hall with electronica dance music for the second consecutive night at the venue in Philadelphia. Illenium, otherwise known as Nicholas Miller, from Chicago Illinois is on an upward spiral, growing in popularity across the United States and capturing audiences with his energetic and lively music. On this tour, Illenium performed hits mainly from his most popular album yet, Ascend, along with some of his most popular singles.
As the concert was ready to begin, audience members flooded the interior of the Franklin Music Hall, expressing wild and unique fashion statements, with a high energy before the music even started. The performance began with the first opener, an up and coming DJ from Orange County California, William Black, who captivated the audience’s attention with his energetic electronica music and with the beautifully detailed graphics, such as pills and roses falling on the screen, preparing the crowd for the type of performances they could expect for the rest of the evening. The mix of his emotional and electronica music was captivating, and he wooed the crowd with some of his biggest hits, such as “I’m Fine,” and “Take Me.” Following William Blacks performance was the second opener, Dabin, a DJ who masterfully mixed electronic music with an electric guitar, creating a unique sound that resonated well with the audience. The crowd remained happy through the second opening act, increasing with energy as the performance proceeded. Everyone mirrored a tumultuous sea of people, with their heads and hands bobbing to the beat as a green/blue light was cast on them from the stage lights.
At 10:30, Illenium took the stage on a raised steel platform, with a side platform for the drummer and another side platform for the keyboard, while Illenium remained at the center. This bare set allowed the audience to focus on the more visually stimulating elements that were presented, such as beautifully detailed futuristic graphics playing on the screen behind Illenium, colored lights, well choreographed lasers, streamers and smoke machines — which erupted at heavy bass moments. The stage manager noted that six 18-wheeler trucks were required to carry all the set materials, exemplifying the dedication involved in creating this beautifully detailed visual and musical experience. The crowd became immersed in this performance, dancing intensely in the light of the lasers and going wild at the sight of the smoke machines.
Illenium had musical support with him on this tour from both Annika Wells, a frequent collaborator who sings on “Crawl Out of Love,” along with support from Dabin on the electric guitar. Fans seemed to enjoy this collaboration, and were enticed by a dramatic guitar smashing on stage by Dabin.
Illenium performed some of his most popular songs, including “Good Things Fall Apart,” “In Your Arms” and “Feel Good.” The crowd sang loudly, especially to Illenium’s most popular song, “Takeaway,” belting the catchy and emotional lyrics;
“Before I love you (nah nah nah)
I’m gonna leave you (nah nah nah)
Before I’m someone you leave behind
I’ll break your heart so you don’t break mine”
The show concluded with an encore of “Good Things Fall Apart,” leaving the whole crowd with a positive energy. Concluding with one of their most popular songs allowed the audience to vibe with one another, all chanting the lyrics and dancing to the beat of the song they all knew so well. The energy of this concert was so unique compared to any standard EDM performance, due to the unique mix of real instruments, and beautiful vocal performances from Annika Wells, along with the stimulating visual experiences which motivated the audience to interact and enjoy this unique performance.
- I Care- Intro
- Crawl Outta Love
- Sad Songs
- Hold On
- Sound of Where’d U Go
- Don’t Give up on Me
- In Your Arms
- Without Me
- Take You Down
- Beautiful Creatures
- Broken Ones
- All Together
- Feel Good
- Free Fall
- That’s Why
- Angel-Lonely Prelude
- Good Things Fall Apart
Follow writer Christina Hoffman on Instagram @christinathoffman